Shadow of the Vampire
*** GM
Starring: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Eddie Izzard, Catherine McCormack, Cary Elwes, Udo Kier


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As I've said plenty of times, I'm not a big vampire fan. "I vant to suck your blood! Bleah! Bleah!" Ooooh. They broke the mold with Count Chocula. But the vampire in this film is based on one of the only incarnations that wasn't some "sexy, smooth, sultry guy that chomps on jugular veins and makes a big mess and always forgets to wear his bib, yet is somehow still alluring to people in black turtlenecks." It's an actual vermin-like vampire that lives in dank caves and slinks around all nasty-creepy-goblin like. And the fact that Willem Dafoe is playing him makes me believe he can do a great Green Goblin in the Spider-Man flick.

Dafoe steals the show, which shouldn't be possible, since he's in the title of the flick, but it's generally the John Malkovich film featuring Willem Dafoe, although it's not as though he's as underused as Ving Rhames tends to be. He's got plenty of screen time here. But he does make off with the show, because Malkovich, while cool, is still pretty much Malkovich - that creepy, quiet and slightly stilted delivery that's perfect for the eccentric and obsessive F.W. Murnau, director of 1922's "Nosferatu," the silent vampire film that couldn't be called "Dracula" because of Bram Stoker's estate being pissy. Drooling over ultimate realism, he actually finds a vampire to play the role of the vampire. Cute idea, makes for a kinda funny movie.

Eddie Izzard, who I dig, is playing the lead actor in the film that's not all that good at acting. Usually, when I dig a stand-up comic, almost anything they do while in a film seems funnier to me - like Carlin in Dogma, etc. Catherine McCormack is also good as the pampered, morphine-addled lead actress, and she was so completely into the role that I could barely recognize her as Murron from "Braveheart." Udo Kier is also smooth as the producer of the film, and I like to remember him as the guy in End of Days that got his entire head punched through by Gabriel Byrne.

All in all, a fun, creepy little flick, even for people that don't dig on the vampires. I must admit, though, that a small part of me wanted Wesley Snipes to bust down the door and kill the little cretin. (By the way, I've always pronounced it 'CREE-tin.' Perhaps I'm a cretin for pronouncing it CREE-tin, but so be it.)

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