Shadow of the Vampire

During the making of Nosferatu, a film version of Bram Stoker’s vampire tale “Dracula”, Berlin-based director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau aims for high realism. The exteriors are shot in 1921 in the Carpathian Mountains, where the farmers are played by real farmers. The vampire is played by Max Schreck, known as an adherent of the Reinhardt and Stanislavski methods. But suddenly the thespian begins behaving strangely. He’ll only shoot at night, he never takes his costume off, and he attacks the cinematographer several times. But above all, he has a special craving for his co-star Greta Schröder, who is innocent of the real nature of her over-assertive colleague … Willem Dafoe won several accolades for his portrayal of Schreck, AKA Transylvanian Count Orlok, including Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as best supporting actor. Despite his terrifying exterior, sporting full vampire regalia – bald, pointy ears, extra-long fingernails, and sharpened incisors, Dafoe managed to make the damaged soul behind the odd make-up visible. His vampire is no brutal bloodsucker, but rather a sensitive outsider with an appreciation for tact, politeness, and – albeit very black – humour.
by E. Elias Merhige
with John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard, John Aden Gillet, Nicholas Elliott
USA / United Kingdom / Luxembourg 2000 English 90’ Black/White & Colour Rating R12


  • John Malkovich
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Udo Kier
  • Cary Elwes
  • Catherine McCormack
  • Eddie Izzard
  • John Aden Gillet
  • Nicholas Elliott


Director E. Elias Merhige
Screenplay Steven Katz
Cinematography Lou Bogue
Editing Chris Wyatt
Music Dan Jones
Sound Nigel Heath
Production Design Assheton Gorton
Art Director Christopher Bradley
Costumes Caroline de Vivaise
Make-Up Ann Buchanan
Producers Nicholas Cage, Jeff Levine

Produced by

Long Shot Films / BBC Films / DeLux Productions