Shadow of the Vampire was the first movie I ever bought at full price, on VHS. I’d never heard of it before but when I saw it in the local bookshop’s little movie corner there was something about it which made me have to have it. The movie is about the filming of Nosferatu, with one twist; Count Orlok is played by an actual vampire. I can’t imagine anyone needs to know more than that to realise that they need to watch this movie as soon as possible. Yet Shadow of the Vampire seems to have been sadly neglected. I could only find it on a plain DVD without extras or subtitles, but with two unskippable trailers at the beginning.
Re-watching Shadow of the Vampire for the first time in nearly a decade, it still gave me the same feeling of unease that it did the first time I saw it. Willem Dafoe does a great job of playing the vampire playing an actor playing count Orlok. And off camera, so to speak, the vampire is different than the one portrayed in Nosferatu. It feels inhuman in a more human way. At times, you might even sympathise with it. And in my mind there is no doubt that the vampire is not the worst monster in the movie.