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The 8 best movies about… making movies

Actor Max Schreck’s performance as the titular vampire in FW Murnau’s copyright-dodging Dracula ripoff Nosferatu is considered one of the most frightening horror performances of all-time. But what if it wasn’t acting? What if Max Schreck was so convincing as the sinister Count Orlock because he was, in fact, a vampire?

That’s the premise of this cheekily fictionalised account of the filming of Murnau’s expressionist classic, which stars Willem Dafoe as the enigmatic actor-cum-bloodsucker and John Malkovich as the movie’s visionary director.

5. Tropic Thunder

The seeds of this Ben Stiller-penned action-comedy were sown over 20 years before, when the actor, then a relatively green twentysomething, was working on Steven Spielberg’s 1987 war drama Empire of the Sun. On that movie, some of Stiller’s colleagues had been placed into boot camps when training for their military roles, emerging at the end walking and talking like they were now bona fide soldiers.

In Tropic Thunder then, a group of prima donna thesps, in Vietnam filming a war epic, are dropped into the middle of a real-life conflict with opium farmers. Stiller’s film pokes fun at the pretensions of over-precious actors as much as it does the lunacies of the Hollywood filmmaking machine.

6. Hitchcock

Based on Stephen Rebello’s non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, this Anthony Hopkins-starring biopic tells the story of the behind-the-scenes dramas of the movie master’s 1960 gamechanger. But what makes for a riveting read (the movie was considered a massive gamble for Hitch when he optioned it in 1959) is sadly translated into a less-than-gripping drama.

Despite writer John J McLaughlin’s embellishments (we see Hitch being visited by an imaginary Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for Psycho‘s

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