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Shadow of the Vampire [DVD] [2001] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

John Malkovich , Willem Dafoe , E. Elias Merhige    DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.


Product details

  • Actors: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack
  • Directors: E. Elias Merhige
  • Writers: Steven Katz
  • Producers: Alan Howden, Jean-Claude Schlim, Jeff Levine, Jimmy de Brabant, Nicolas Cage
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: 29 May 2001
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B6L0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,718 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Shadow of the Vampire is a film full of good ideas that are only partially developed. Clever, engaging, and boosted by the sublime casting of Willem Dafoe as Nosferatu "actor" Max Schreck, its premise is ripe with possibilities but the movie's too slight to register much impact: characters remain achingly underdeveloped and the whole lacks a sense of pace or structure. What's left, however, is enough for anyone to get their teeth into: the delightful performances from a sterling cast and director E Elias Merhige's affectionately tongue-in-cheek homage to a landmark of German silent cinema. John Malkovich is aptly loony as the eccentric director FW Murnau, whose passion in filming the 1922 classic Nosferatu leads to the extreme casting of Schreck as the vampire, a vision of evil who, in this movie's delightfully twisted imagination, actually is a vampire, sucking the blood of cast and crew members who've dismissed Schreck as an over-zealous method actor.

As these on-set maladies and "accidents" continue, Schreck wields greater control over Murnau, who descends into a kind of obsessive art-for-art's-sake madness until diva co-star Greta Schroeder (Catherine McCormack, doing wonderful work) is served up as the actor's ultimate motivation. Merhige and his actors (including Cary Elwes, as intrepid cameraman Fritz Wagner) have great fun with this ghastly escapade, and the humour is kept delicately subtle to balance the movie's artistic aspirations. To that end, Dafoe is just right, his bald pate and gaunt features a perfect match for the mysterious Schreck, his grimace and talon-like fingers suggesting a human vulture on the prowl. Likewise, the re-creation of Nosferatu's expressionist style is both fanciful and brilliantly authentic. Too bad, then, that this movie suffers from a case of vampiric anaemia, with budgetary shortcomings apparently the cause of at least some of its shortcomings; if Shadow of the Vampire shared the depth and richness of, say, Ed Wood, it might have been a cult classic for the ages. --Jeff Shannon,

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Film brilliant, DVD quality unacceptably bad 26 Oct 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
'Shadow of the Vampire' is a great film, a must for any serious horror fan (or cineaste generally). I saw it in the cinema when it first came out and owned the original DVD (which I somehow lost), so I repurchased it via amazon from Discgiant.

The edition I'm writing about here is the Metrodrome one, ASIN barcode 5055002550386. It has the WORST trasnfer I've ever seen on a contemporary feature film, so I'm wondering if Discgiant are supplying a genuine product. DON'T BUY THIS EDITION - as I said, having owned the original DVD and seen it on celluloid in a cinema, I was shocked by the dreadful picture quality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The year is 1922. German director F.W.Murneau is filming his masterpiece, Nosferatu, based on the Dracula story. The film will be his masterpiece, and his drive for utter realism and the perfect picture knows no bounds. So far, so much historical fact. But what if...? The basic premise of this intriguing film is `what if Max Schreck, the actor hired to play Orlock, was really a vampire?'

This is an intriguing premise, which promises much and delivers more. `Shadow Of The Vampire' follows the troubled shooting of Nosferatu, with mysterious deaths and illnesses in the cast and crew. Schreck at first appears to be the ultimate method actor, never out of character, but we are slowly lead to suspect that there is a bit more to it than that. The build up of the character, and the peeling away of the layers until the truth is revealed is expertly done. The final denouement, where Murneau finally gets the realism he has been looking for, is thrilling, all the more so from the expert build up of the tension in the preceding 75 minutes.

John Malkovitch stars as the realism obsessed Murneau, a part he plays very well. I suspect that this is largely due to him being a very similar character in real life. Eddie Izzard is entertaining as the silent film star Gustav. The real star of the show though is Willem Dafoe, unrecognisable under his Oscar nominated makeup as Shreck/Orlock. As with the real Schreck in Nosferatu he manages to do so much with only expression and gesture. Just watching him rubbing his fingers fills one with real horror.

The edition under review is the 2002 Metronome version. This iis in 16:9 widescreen with what appears to be only stereo sound. The picture quality is very good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is something special 18 Mar 2011
By Lutobar
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you want special effects and blood and guts you will be disappointed. It's not even a very well constructed film. But I recently saw it by chance and if you want to feel as though you have met the real Dracula (or rather Count Orlock), this is the one. The part is played sublimely well by Willem Dafoe; and this together with the film's general mediocrity makes him stand apart from the film, and thereby (and I'm sure the irony is unintended)the most 'real' of all the characters. It is also of note that Orlock is the only character in the film with a sense of humour. I am no film buff and I do not normally bother to watch horror films but I know a good thing when I see it, and there is genius in this film.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Be prepared to be haunted by such sinister questions before watching "Shadow of the Vampire": should filmmaking be considered an art or science?, what's the thin line between genius and lunacy?, what might be the complications of uncontrolled creativity? what threads have humans and vampires in common? wickedness, loneliness, voraciousness, monstrousness or something more we don't know?

The premise of the film is based on the story of two tortured souls: one in human form, an obsessive and ambitious director who will sacrifice his cast and crew to "science" for the sake of making history through his purely realistic work, Nosferatu. The other is an hybrid form seemingly a rodent-like actor with clicking long, green fingernails and scowling gutteral grunts, who skulks in a nocturnal pit where his only companions are rats and bats. Both are after his own immortality; the former feeds on souls, the latter feeds on blood.

Thanks to impeccable cinematography, the aura and ambiance of the film are dark and depressing. The film uses different cameras and angles very well. As a photographer, I must say that the use of lights, shadows and reflections enhance the intended effectiveness. Along with good close-ups, it mixes bright shots with shadowy darkness pretty well. Overtures from "Tristan and Isolde" & "The Flying Dutchman", combines exquisitely with the picture. But, putting all these positive elements aside, the beauty of the film has a lot to do with the top notch performances of Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich.

But..... The pacing is a little too slack; duration is too short; script is shallow and not strong as it should be; depends too much on stereotypes, and pushes the viewer too much, not allowing enough room for imagination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor movie, dreadful DVD 14 Jan 2012
Firstly, beware the recently reissued DVD by Second Sight, I know it's cheap but the picture quality is atrocious - washed out, pixillated - there's even a purple line running down the extreme left hand side for the duration of the movie. One of the worst transfers I've seen since the days of video back in the 80s.
Secondly, this is one huge missed opportunity of a movie - the idea is good, the cast is good, the director has talent (see his first feature Begotten for proof) however this film is a mess. There's no sense of tone - what is it? - a horror movie? a comedy? a historical snapshot? a character study of Murnau or Shrek? For me it succeeds at none of these aims and just drifts along squandering potential as it goes. Shame. Dig out the original or Herzogs magisterial remake and avoid this like the plague.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film - terrible blu-ray transfer
Firstly why has no-one on here mentioned the terrible blu-ray picture ?? Everyone seems to mention dvd picture quality ?? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mad fan
3.0 out of 5 stars Concept Better than Reality
As a concept, the film is great; in practise, it leaves something to be desired.

While it creates an intriguing look at the filming of 'Nosferatu' with its exceptional... Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. Spence
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Horror Film of the 2000s.
Shadow of the Vampire is a superb film from start to finish.
It's chilling, eerie and needs a whole new box as it thinks outside everything else. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Colonel Decker
5.0 out of 5 stars A long shadow approaches...
I would like to start by saying that this isn't a review of the DVD. This version is bare bones, so it really wouldn't matter anyway. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Anthony Boobier
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect companion to Nosferatu 1922
I have the Masters of Cinema restored version of Nosferatu 1922, and this film is a perfect companion for that silent classic! Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. A. Bradford
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and a bit camp
Creepy and atmospheric film but a little camp around the edges, gives you a wry smile. Some of it is disturbingly erotic too without really knowing why. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Whinbrook
3.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous muddle
This could have been such a good film.
Casting John Malkovich as the great, and gay, director F W Murnau, who`s attempting to film Nosferatu in the sticks in twenties Germany,... Read more
Published 22 months ago by GlynLuke
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea.
O K film but really need to view 'Nosferatu' first.It then makes some sense as would be difficult to appreciate without this prior knowledge.
Published on 19 July 2012 by Malcolm W. R. Gauld
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
This supposedly horror/comedy is neither scary nor funny. The story/plot could be viewed as an alternative take on early cinema history, but fails also in this. Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2012 by Daniel
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