31 Horror Films #11: Shadow of the Vampire 2000 Dir. E. Elias Merhige

Last year I did a series of daily micro blogs going through the history of horror films by year. This was meant to give people an example of the high points of the genre. This year I'll be doing the same thing, but going off the beaten path to provide some films you may not have heard of. These films may not be up your alley, but they're all interesting.

Shadow of the Vampire 2000 Dir. E. Elias Merhige

Shadow of the Vampire is just as much about the making of movies, as it is about a vampire, and oddly enough, the two subjects go together extremely well. In this fictionalized tale of the making of Nosferatu, the F.W. Murnau masterpiece, we see a man obsessed with the act of filmmaking. As the famous horror production is mounted, and cast and crew are assembled, many parallels are drawn between the director and his vampire subject. Actress Greta Schoeder states in the film: "An audience gives me life! This thing (referring to the camera) only takes it from me." The parallels continue between the act of preserving someone on film, thus making them immortal, as we follow the ancient and tragic Schreck terrorize the crew.

My favorite horror films are the ones that go deeper. The ones that explore the dark side of humanity and Shadow of the Vampire does this in spades. You catch yourself caught in Murnau's obsession to see his film finished, but you also wonder how far Schreck will go before someone stops him-if someone stops him.

The premise of this film offers both pitch black comedy with a lingering sense of the sinister, and your never sure if it's the vampire or 1920s Berlin that's giving you the heebie-jeebies. Expertly acted and directed Shadow of the Vampire brings horror cinema full circle, injecting new blood into an old classic.

Watch the trailer HERE