Shadow of the Vampire

Shadow of the Vampire

4.3 6
Director: E. Elias Merhige

Cast: E. Elias Merhige, John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Cary Elwes

     
 

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Though it didn't survive for long at the box office, E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire receives commendable treatment on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Films. Presented in a beautiful 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, the image is remarkably clean and clear. Though the color scheme of the film is often muted, skin tones are accurate, blacks are solid

Overview

Though it didn't survive for long at the box office, E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire receives commendable treatment on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Films. Presented in a beautiful 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, the image is remarkably clean and clear. Though the color scheme of the film is often muted, skin tones are accurate, blacks are solid with little notable evidence of artifacting, and colors are rich and vivid throughout. For such a lovingly photographed film, the care put into providing a suitable transfer was essential, and it comes off as a visually rewarding experience. Presented in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, as well as DTS 5.1 Surround, the audio is full and encompassing, providing clear dialogue and atmosphere, and nicely complementing Dan Jones' hauntingly hypnotic score. Subtitles are offered in English only. The easy-to-navigate title menu is simple and elegant. Though not technically a "special edition" disc by Universal standards, the DVD contains numerous memorable and insightful extras that fans of the film will find exciting. In an audio commentary track, director Merhige discusses the fusion of the old and new in storytelling, the thought processes in bringing the story to life, and his curious choices for composition and design and their psychological effect on the viewer. Interviews with Willem Dafoe and producer Nicolas Cage give insight into Merhige's vision compared to that of F.W. Murnau in the original Nosferatu (1922), and Cage, functioning as producer, explains how he helped to bring together the numerous talents required to complete the demanding film. Photo galleries, a theatrical trailer, production notes, filmographies and biographies of the cast and crew, a makeup montage detailing Willem Dafoe's transformation into Nosferatu, and an amusing and short behind-the scenes featurette round out the DVD.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
An ingenious and surprisingly effective narrative gimmick is employed in this hard-to-classify film, which purports to tell the "real" story behind the making of Nosferatu, the 1922 German horror film that brought director F. W. Murnau international acclaim. According to Steven Katz's devilishly clever script, Murnau (played by John Malkovich with his customary intensity) brings verisimilitude to his unauthorized screen version of the Dracula legend by casting an authentic vampire, Max Schreck (a nearly unrecognizable Willem Dafoe), in the title role. Only trouble is, Schreck can't restrain his unholy urges -- and his periodic feedings on cast and crew members outstrip Murnau's ability to replace them. Director E. Elias Merhige (Begotten) replicates certain images from Nosferatu with uncanny accuracy, but fidelity to cinematic history isn't his primary aim; he's interested in exploiting a lunatic notion that provokes chuckles as well as chills. Although Shadow swings from suspenseful horror to black comedy, Merhige maintains an eerie, unhealthy atmosphere throughout. Malkovich portrays Murnau as a perpetually annoyed, arrogant, frustrated artist, and Dafoe -- who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance -- makes Schreck alternately terrifying and ridiculous. Shadow of the Vampire deserves one look solely on the basis of its audacious concept, but it's a deliciously macabre movie that begs for repeated viewings. Merhige provides a commentary for the DVD, which also includes an interview with producer Nicolas Cage, a featurette covering the film's inspiration and production, and a gallery of stills.
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum
The reason German actor Max Schreck was such a convincing, terrifying Dracula in Nosferatu is because he really was a vampire.... That, at least, is the delicious premise of Shadow of the Vampire. E. Elias Merhige's kicky, elaborately constructed fantasy is both an erudite homage to Murnau's 1922 silent horror classic and a high-spirited meditation on bloodsucking, filmmaking, and the correlation between the two. It's also a feast of fangs-bared acting by two exemplars of the form, John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/2003
UPC:
0031398833826
Original Release:
2000
Rating:
R
Source:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:31:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Director interview; Photo montage; Make-up montage; Willem Dafoe interview; Director commentary; 16x9 widescreen; English & Spanish subtitles; Dolby Digital 5.1

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Malkovich FW. Murnau
Willem Dafoe Max Schreck
Cary Elwes Fritz Wagner
Eddie Izzard Gustav Von Wangerheim
Udo Kier Albin Grau
Catherine McCormack Greta Schroeder
Ronan Vibert Wolfgang Muller

Technical Credits
E. Elias Merhige Director
Paul Brooks Executive Producer
Anni Buchanan Makeup
Nicolas Cage Producer
Jimmy De Brabant Co-producer
Caroline de Vivaise Costumes/Costume Designer
Assheton Gorton Production Designer
Nigel Heath Sound Editor
Dan Jones Score Composer
Steven Katz Screenwriter
Jeff Levine Producer
Carl Proctor Casting
Carlo Thoss Sound/Sound Designer
Chris Wyatt Editor

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Shadow [6:01]
2. Artifice [4:32]
3. Method Actor [2:15]
4. Moving Picture [3:44]
5. To Be [3:03]
6. Invoke [3:34]
7. Unexplored [3:32]
8. Incredible [4:02]
9. Taking Direction [2:53]
10. Bad Neighbor [3:09]
11. Alone [3:08]
12. Demons [3:13]
13. An Arrangement [5:10]
14. Mystical Substance [5:41]
15. Dabbled [3:30]
16. Vanishing Crew [3:13]
17. Creeping Around [2:48]
18. Nightmare [2:45]
19. Natural Light [4:23]
20. Ultimate Sacrifice [4:33]
21. Begin [2:41]
22. Enough [4:31]
23. Death Scene [3:43]
24. End Credits [5:36]

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Shadow of the Vampire 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend it. Dafoe deserved the oscar for this role. Very good plot, intense acting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Shadow of the Vampire. It was extremely interesting to me. The writing, camera work were top of the line, and Dafoe's performance is among the best. I saw the 1922 classic Nosferatu after seeing Shadow of the Vampire, and it made it all the more interesting because Nosferatu actually earned my praise as a great piece of moviemaking. The 70 minutes it took to watch Nosferatu simply flew by. It was very neat to watch both movies and compare them to each other. Shadow of the Vampire was probably the second or third best movie of last year and that and Nosferatu enter my top list of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a one of a kind movie. very original and clever story.
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