->'''F.W. Murnau''': ''I will not allow you to destroy my picture!''
->'''Max Schreck''': ''This is hardly your picture any longer.''

''Shadow of the Vampire'' is a 2000 film directed by E. Elias Merhige, starring JohnMalkovich and Willem Dafoe.

Malkovich plays F.W. Murnau, the German director who sets out to make his most identifiable film, ''{{Film/Nosferatu}}: Eine Symphonie des Grauens.'' To make his somewhat lawyer-friendly take on {{Dracula}}, he hires the mysterious Max Shreck to play the vampire Count Orlock. Murnau knows that Schreck is a real-life vampire, and he's hired the actor to ensure a real-life performance. [[{{Pun}} But, he's really bitten off more than he can chew this time]]...

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AgeWithoutYouth: Schreck has lived centuries, and he looks it.
* AllPartOfTheShow: When Schreck grabs a bat and chomps down on it in front of two crewmembers, one of them says admiringly, "What an actor!"
* AnachronismStew: Creator/SergeiEisenstein is cited as a great director. ''Nosferatu'' was filmed two years before Eisenstein directed his first movie.
* BadBadActing: Schreck is hyped up as an insanely dedicated method actor who toured with a prestigious company. However, his actual performance is stilted line readings, dialog screwups and looking at the camera. Of course, it makes sense because he isn't really an actor and was cast for the overwhelming creepiness and legitmacy he brought to the role.
* BaldOfEvil
* BlackComedy
* BreakingAndBloodsucking: Played with. Schrek doesn't attack Greta in her room, it's a movie set, the bedroom from the climax of Nosferatu. Per the arrangement with Murnau, Schrek only receives his payment for playing "himself" in the movie in the scene were Orlok feeds on Ellen.
* BullyingADragon: Murnau constantly yells at Schreck for killing his crew.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Murnau.
* ContinuityNod: The famous scene of Orlock's projected hand's shadow is reproduced several times.
* ControlFreak: Murnau, full on. However, things eventually get ''way'' out of his control.
* DealWithTheDevil: Murnau promises Schreck a meal of the leading lady in return for his performance.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Everyone involved with filmmaking will recognize the film as one big metaphor for film production itself. RogerEbert noticed this in his [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20010126/REVIEWS/101260302/1023 review]]:
-->'''RogerEbert:''' Schreck muses aloud, "I do not think we need . . . the writer . . ." Scenes like this work as inside comedy, but they also have a practical side: The star is hungry, and because he is the star, he can make demands. This would not be the first time a star has eaten a writer alive.
* DoingItForTheArt: Murnau's excuse, though he uses the words ForScience.
* EnforcedMethodActing: The end result of having to work with an actual bloodsucker. Murnau even lampshades it:
-->"They don't need to act. They need to '''be'''"
** "Consider this a ''sacrifice'' for your art"
* FatalMethodActing: [[spoiler:Schreck is a real vampire, thus disintegrates when his character is killed via sunlight.]]
** Happens to several members of the cast and production crew.
* TheFogOfAges: Max Schreck, the vampire actor, suffers from this; most of the memories of his early life and his sire have faded, and throughout the film he claims to have forgotten killing members of the film crew less than a few hours after doing so. However, it's implied that Schreck isn't a "complete" vampire, given that he has continued [[AgeWithoutYouth aging despite being immortal]], and that he was never capable of siring vampires of his own.
* ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself: "For this horror movie, I shall be playing a vampire."
* GratuitousGerman: HerrDoktor, Herr Doktor, Herr Doktor, Ja...
** Also, EddieIzzard as Gustav. He basically uses the same German accent he uses for his stand up routine about the Heimmlich Manoeuvre.
* LargeHam: Murnau. "Death of centuries! Moonchaser! Blasphemer! Monkey! Vase of prehistory. Finally to Earth, and finally born."
* LooksLikeOrlok: Max actually plays Orlock.
* MadArtist: Murnau, Murnau, Murnau...
* MakingTheMasterpiece: A rather fictional example of this type of story.
* MeaningfulName: A rare RealLife example: Schreck is German for "fright". The real Max Schreck delighted in this coincidence.
* MonsterSobStory: Schreck.
* NiceCharacterMeanActor: Greta.
-->"Stupid cat!"
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: They don't reflect in mirrors, but since they cast shadows, they can be caught on film.
** Schreck comments that he cannot make other vampires (whether he is physically limited himself or just doesn't know how to is unclear), [[IDoNotDrinkWine drinks alcohol]] in more than one occasion (and gets drunk by it), can feed on animals, and while he refuses to board a ship he manages to reach an island by plane (thus passing over moving water).
* PrettyInMink: Greta first shows up in a fur-trimmed coat.
* ThePrimaDonna: Greta is introduced as one at first, but quickly gets surpassed by Murnau himself.
* SchrodingersCat: If we are to count "real life" as the source material, then the deaths of several cast and crew members, [[spoiler:including Schreck]] counts.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Let's just say this film plays very loosely with the facts.
* VillainousBreakdown: Murnau, after [[spoiler:Schreck kills cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner, and producer Albin Grau. He expresses his cracked sanity as he orders Schreck to be killed via sunlight.]]
* WarmBloodbagsAreEverywhere: Murnau has to keep his cast and crew from falling prey to Schreck's fangs.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: Schreck reads the book ''{{Dracula}}'' in order to study for his role, and is saddened by the scene where Dracula leaves a meal for Jonathon Harker, and remembers when he used to have servants to do such tasks for him, which reminds him of when he had a wife, family, estates etc, whereas now he's just a scavenger living in a ruined castle.
* WritersSuck: After Schreck [[spoiler:kills the cinematographer, he quips "I don't think we need the writer..."]]
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