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The classic versus the film it inspired. There's a choice for you...
What's a lot of fun is watching both of these movies back-to-back. Neither of them are too long to wear out their welcome, and it makes for a fun evening of chills. I'm going with Shadow of the Vampire here, simply because 80 years of cinematic advancement makes it a much more watchable movie.
Nosferatu. Shadow of the Vampire is an absorbing and original piece of cinema, and one of the few vampire movies since Nosferatu to really capture the disgusting, verminous, lonely and undignified side of the vampire mythos. It fails for me in its lack of consistency with the original; Schreck casts no reflection in Shadow, but it can be clearly seen in Nosferatu. And the real/staged death scenes in Shadow bear no resemblence to what is seen in the "real" movie. I know this is picky, but little touches like this will destroy the suspension of disbelief in a meta-movie and detract heavily from an otherwise brilliant film. Nosferatu, on the otherhand, is perfect.
I understand everything Nosferatu accomplished and all that it contributed to modern horror cinema and while Max Schreck's performance is still creepy as hell to this day, as overall movies and which one I'd rather rewatch and which I was more entertained by, Shadow of the Vampire wins.
I'll actually go for Shadow of the Vampire. It's more fun seeing how a movie Dracula might of been made over the actual story of Dracula which is kinda weak honestly. Also Nosferatu dedicates a lot of screen time to the sideplot involving the plague, which is just dreadfully boring.
I consider the three Nosferatu movies to be pretty consistent in quality. The original Nosferatu is a mythical piece of transcendent horror that inspired a lot of movies that came after and is filled with horrifying imagery to this day. Herzog's remake was a fine piece of horror, adding a great soundtrack and an even more unsettling climax. Klaus Kinski is also great as the vampire, even if not as great as Max Schreck. Shadow of the Vampire was an interesting movie from start to finish, featuring my favourite vampire performance by Willem Dafoe. Also, I thought that ending was awesomely ethereal. The stakes. That being said, I'm still siding with the classic here. Something about it... silent or not, still quite disturbing and also pretty entertaining. I'm still talking about it movies after I've watched it.