E Elias Merhige

Shadow of the Vampire

Interviewed by James Mottram

It's a film about film-making, don't you think?

From my point of view, it was very consciously made with the idea that this film is about the nature of cinema itself; the vampiristic nature of the camera as this invention that came out of the industrial revolution. What always fascinated me was that when the camera fixes its gaze on its subject, it takes the flesh and the blood away and leaves just the shadow. It doesn't have a life pulse, merely a shadow. The camera drinks your essence away from you, but leaves this eternal shade.

How did you come to the project?

Nicolas Cage had the script. He's a big fan of early Expressionism. Crispin Glover had given him a tape of my first film "Begotten". He really fell in love with it. We got together and clicked. Cage is an artist. He thinks like one, and that's what made this film such a pleasure to do. There was a lot of belief in me.

Is the film also about exploring "Nosferatu" as a piece of work, and the vampire genre?

Yes, I think "Nosferatu" has a great power. It endures today because the depiction of the vampire in that film is so ferociously original that it's never been paralleled. Vampires are most effectively expressed in the cinema; you have this battle between dark and light, and what more perfect a battleground than the cinema? That's all it is, shadow and light.

Read a review of "Shadow of the Vampire".

Read an interview with Udo Kier, one of the stars of "Shadow of the Vampire".

Read about the real making of "Nosferatu".