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Shadow of the vampire

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Movie propaganda

Rapturously received at its world première in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes 2000, Shadow of the vampire is a witty, atmospheric and deliciously feverish tale inspired by the great German film director FW Murnau (John Malkovich) and the making of his unforgettable Nosferatu.

The film dares to suggest that Murnau made a faustian pact with Max Schrek (Willem Dafoe), an actual vampire, to play the role of Count Orlock in exchange for the neck of the leading lady, Greta Schroeder (Catherine McCormack). Anchored by an astounding performance by Willem, the film's distinct, offbeat sensibility and its ability to steer a course between its slightly tongue in cheek premise and some genuinely disturbing moments make this one of the most talked about films of the year.

Shadow of the vampire is a wildly original celebration of, and fresh addition to, one of the medium's most immortal genres, as well as an audacious meditation on creativity, obsession, and that most blood-sucking of all art forms - the cinema.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Shadow of the vampire image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film horror supernatural vampire behind the scenes black and white filmmaker

Persons of interest

  • John Malkovich .... Friedrich Wilhelm "FW" Murnau
  • Willem Dafoe .... Max Schreck
  • Udo Kier .... Albin Grau
  • Cary Elwes .... Fritz Arno "Fritzy" Wagner
  • Catherine McCormack .... Greta Schröder
  • Eddie Izzard .... Gustav von Wangenheim
  • Aden Gillett .... Henrik Galeen
  • Nicholas Elliott .... Paul
  • Ronan Vibert .... Wolfgang "Wolf" Müller
  • Sophie Langevin .... Elke
  • Myriam Muller .... Maria
  • Milos Hlavac .... Innkeeper
  • Marja-Leena Junker .... Innkeeper's Wife
  • Steven Katz .... Screenwriter
  • E Elias Merhige .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Nosferatu 2.

You know you're onto a good thing when a quasi-documentary about a horror film is as scary as the horror film itself. For historians there is an immense amount of detail about turn of the (20th) century filmmaking and costume. for horror buffs there's a whole lot of creepiness, not to mention violence and bloodletting. For acting aficionados there is Willem in a performance so good that I was still waiting for him to come on screen three quarters of the way into the film.

Of course, it's all fiction, but you can't help but be swept along by the "live" colour scenes and the "filmed" black and white scenes. The supporting cast has just the right blend of background blandness and foreground pungency while even John manages not to spoil the film. Shadow of the vampire is one vampire flick you really should see, if only because it's the father of every other vampire flick ever made.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level violence, drug use, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

88 minutes (1:28 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 25 January 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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