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"SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE"
(2000) (John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Extreme Mild Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Moderate None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate None Mild Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A film director hires a real vampire to play such a part in his latest picture in this imagined scenario regarding the filming of the classic horror film, "Nosferatu."
PLOT:
It's 1921 Berlin and director F. W. Murnau (JOHN MALKOVICH) is shooting his latest film, "Nosferatu," a vampire picture. Much to the chagrin of his leading lady, Greta Schroeder (CATHERINE McCORMACK), Murnau has taken his cast and crew to a remote part of Eastern Europe where Greta and leading man Gustav Von Wangerheim (EDDIE IZZARD) are to shoot scenes with Max Schreck (WILLEM DAFOE), an actor who also turns out to be a real vampire.

Murnau doesn't inform his crew - producer Albin Grau (UDO KIER), writer Henrick Galeen (JOHN ADEN GILLET), and cameraman Wolfgang Muller (RONAN VIBERT) - of this interesting bit of casting. Instead, he simply tells them that Schreck is a method actor who's always in character and will only film at night.

Despite his promise to leave the cast and crew alone, Schreck can't help himself and attacks Muller, thus rendering him useless for the job. Murnau then returns from Berlin with a new cameraman, Fritz Wagner (CARY ELWES), and continues shooting his picture, with everyone still oblivious to Schreck's real identity.

Moving the production to an isolated island, Murnau moves forward with his filming, hoping to keep Schreck at bay until his picture is done. Unfortunately for him, that's easier said than done, particularly since the vampire clearly has a ravenous attraction toward Greta. Nevertheless, Murnau continues shooting, eventually going to extreme measures to capture his story on film.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're film buffs or fans of vampire flicks or someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some sexuality, drug content, violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHN MALKOVICH plays a 1920s era film director who will do most anything and go to any extreme to get a shot and finish shooting his film (including allowing others' lives to be endangered while doing so). He also briefly uses strong profanity and appears to be under the influence of drugs in one scene.
  • WILLEM DAFOE plays a real-life vampire who agrees to be in the film in exchange for access to its lead actress. As such, he does the normal vampire thing (attacking people and sucking their blood, etc.).
  • CATHERINE McCORMACK plays an actress who's also a morphine addict.
  • EDDIE IZZARD plays the film's leading man who smokes.
  • UDO KIER plays the film's producer who's nervous about Murnau completely his film on time. He drinks in one scene.
  • JOHN ADEN GILLET plays the film's screenwriter who drinks with Schreck and Albin in one scene. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • RONAN VIBERT plays the film's first cameraman who finds himself the vampire's first victim.
  • CARY ELWES plays his cocky replacement who smokes.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated film. Some standard, but not particularly gory vampire on human violence occurs, including the obligatory neck biting as well as some lethal behavior (neck breaking, etc.). A man also shoots the vampire several times with a gun, but doesn't permanently harm him.

    Some of those scenes may be unsettling or scary to some viewers, although most of them are not played in a traditionally scary sense. Profanity consists of at least 2 uses of the "f" word, while various other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some sexual cavorting and nudity is briefly seen in a strange party scene, while other nudity and groping occur at other moments.

    Various characters smoke and drink, while voluntary and involuntary morphine and/or other drug use is also present. Meanwhile, various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Should this summary not appease your concerns about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • There's talk that the film crew gave some sort of sedative to a cat in their film to make it more cooperative. One man then comments that it's not as "pickled" as Greta.
  • We briefly see the shot of a syringe at a party (suggesting drug use).
  • The cast and crew appear to drink after arriving at their shooting location.
  • Murnau orders that Wolfgang be given some brandy (for seemingly being sick, although he's apparently just been bitten by a vampire).
  • Gustav has some wine during the shooting of a scene.
  • Henrick and Albin drink schnapps straight from the bottle. Schreck then joins them and guzzles down quite a bit as well.
  • Fritz states that he's not a doctor, but then adds that he does dabble in pharmaceuticals.
  • Fritz and a woman drink.
  • We see Greta's bare breasts as she rolls around on a bed with her robe open, apparently high from something she's taken (that's rumored to be morphine).
  • We see another brief shot of a syringe (suggesting drug use).
  • Albin takes a pipe from another man and smokes what's presumably some form of drugs, while we see a needle go into another man's arm, resulting in that man being high from morphine.
  • We then see Murnau who appears to be under the influence of drugs.
  • Several men inject Greta with morphine to make her more compliant for a scene they're shooting.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Someone brings Schreck a container of blood.
  • Gustav accidentally cuts his finger and we see a tiny bit of blood.
  • Schreck grabs what looks like a bat out of midair and bites into it, but we don't see anything graphic or gory, although there appears to be some blood on Schreck's lips afterwards.
  • We see a few drops of blood on Schreck's chin and some on his lips after he's bitten someone who has some blood on their neck.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some could see Schreck as having both for being a vampire and attacking people, while others might argue that that's just the nature of the beast.
  • There's talk that the film crew gave some sort of sedative to a cat in their film to make it more cooperative.
  • Murnau promises certain people to Schreck that he can have (in a vampire way) when the filming is done. He also does whatever is necessary to get his shot, including continuing to film when Schreck actually kills some people during the shooting of certain scenes.
  • Albin and Fritz learn of Murnau's deal with Schreck and don't do anything to stop it or inform Greta, but instead help drug her to make her more compliant for a scene that needs to be shot.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Gustav shoots his first scene (at night and with some eerie music playing) where he's to encounter Schreck for the first time. As such, he makes his way through a darkened building and is unnerved at the sight of the actor/vampire (whose appearance might also be unsettling to some viewers). The filmmakers then find Wolfgang on the floor, unaware that Schreck has apparently attacked him.
  • Murnau grabs Schreck by the throat, but let's go when the vampire sits up with supernatural ease.
  • It's possible that the vampire biting people on the necks scenes might be unsettling or scary for some viewers, but they're not presented in the typical fashion to induce such reaction.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Fired into the air by Fritz to get a startled reaction out of the performers and later in an attempt to kill Schreck.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're out of your f*cking mind," "You f*cking rat bastard," "Idiot," "What the hell are you talking about?" and "Go to hell."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of old-fashioned, suspenseful/ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "f" words, 2 "s" words, 1 damn, 1 hell, and 4 uses of "Jesus," 3 of "My God," 2 of "Oh Jesus" and 1 "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • At some sort of odd, apparently cross-dressing party, we see some women dancing around topless with just some paint covering their bare breasts. We also see two women kissing and part of a woman's bare butt after Murnau pulls up her skirt/dress and appears to kiss her there. There are also a few women posed in sexual positions (with some of the women dressed as men in those clothed couplings).
  • Schreck sees a small photo of Greta and states that she has "a beautiful bosom."
  • As Henrick and Albin talk about the most wondrous thing they ever saw, the former states that he once saw Greta naked.
  • We see Greta's bare breasts as she rolls around on a bed with her robe open, apparently high from something she's taken.
  • During the shooting of a scene, Schreck tries to touch Greta's clothed breasts.
  • Schreck feeds on Greta's neck while caressing her clothed breasts as she makes sensuous sounds.
  • SMOKING
  • Gustav and Fritz smoke around 5 times each, while Greta, Henrick and some miscellaneous characters collectively smoke a few times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The making of the real film, "Nosferatu," and the clever "what if" premise this picture attaches to that.
  • The drug use present in the film.
  • Vampires.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Although we don't see it, it's implied that Schreck has attacked Wolfgang (in a vampire biting way).
  • Gustav accidentally cuts his finger during the shooting of a scene and Schreck quickly grabs him.
  • Henrick pushes Murnau.
  • Schreck grabs what looks like a bat out of midair and bites into it, but we don't see anything graphic or bloody (beyond some blood on his lip).
  • Schreck attacks a man (in a vampire fashion) and we then see that man's body falling off a tall, full-scale boat prop (but we don't see the impact on the ground).
  • Murnau grabs Schreck by the throat, but let's go when the vampire sits up with supernatural ease.
  • Schreck feeds on Greta's neck.
  • A man shoots the vampire several times, but doesn't hurt him. Instead, the vampire grabs him and breaks his neck, killing him. Schreck then grabs another man and they struggle until the former strangles the latter.
  • A vampire presumably dies from exposure to sunlight.



  • Reviewed December 6, 2000 / Posted January 26, 2001

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