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Shadow of the Vampire

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Shot on location in Luxembourg, a country known for its abundance of ruined castles, this homage to the making of a classic film is itself a stylish horror flick, taking genius and obsession to their extremes. John Malkovich stars as German director F.W. Murnau, whose 1922 silent film Nosferatu is legendary both for its expressionistic use of shadow and for the eerie performance of little-known actor Max Schreck. Other than his role as Nosferatu--the repellent creature inspired by Bram Stoker's novel--little is known about Schreck (or Murnau, who died in 1931), which makes it easier to go along with the premise that Schreck was an actual vampire enlisted by Murnau to give his film the ultimate sense of realism. As filming progresses, Schreck (Willem Dafoe) can't control his taste for blood, and Murnau's willingness to sacrifice his crew and actors ultimately leads to death and disaster in this fanciful spin on a little-known chapter of film history. See "Opening Friday" for theaters and times.

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