E. Elias Merhige
Birth Date:
Birth Place:
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Famous for:
His role in 'Shadow of the Vampire' (2000)
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Shadow of the Vampire


“Whatever happened to search and discovery in the arts of today? Artists must behave like archaeologists if the guts of visionary filmmaking can happen. They will have to return to the depths of the collective unknown to find out what we're all about, from that universal dream our most individual and forceful voices can emerge.” E. Elias Merhige

American film director E. Elias Merhige is perhaps best known for directing “Begotten” (1990) and the horror film “Shadow of the Vampire” (2000). He picked up a Prix Tournage Award at the 2000 Avignon Film Festival, a Special Mention at the 2000 Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival, a Bronze Horse nomination at the 2000 Stockholm Film Festival and an International Fantasy Film nomination at the 2001 Fantasporto for the latter. Merhige has also directed such music videos as Marilyn Manson's “Anti-Christ Superstar” (1996), for which he won a Certificate of Merit at the 1997 San Francisco International Film Festival, “Cryptorchid” (1999), Glenn Danzig's “Serpentia” (1997) and Interpol's “The Heinrich Maneuver” (2007).

Merhige is currently working on the drama “Games they Play.”

Brooklyn Native

Childhood and Family:

E. Elias Merhige was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1964. He was a straight A student in school and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Motion Picture Directing from State University New York.



E. Elias Merhige entered the filmmaking world with “Implosion” (1983), a 48 minute black and white movie he wrote and directed. He went on to direct two more shorts, “Spring Reign” (1984) and “A Taste of Youth” (1985), before making an impact with his feature film debut “Begotten,” which he directed, wrote, produced, edited, and served as cinematographer. Premiering at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 30, 1990, prior to its theatrical release, the horror film earned somewhat positive reviews from critics and was named one of the top ten films of the year by “Time Magazine.”

After “Begotten,” Merhige left the film industry for almost a decade. Instead, he turned his attention to the stage by directing “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “Waiting for Godot” and “A Dream Play,” among other plays. He also embarked on a successful career as a music video director. In 1996, Merhige was contacted by Marilyn Manson in respects to producing a music video for “Cryptorchid” (1999) after Manson saw “Begotten.” They met in Los Angeles, where the video would be produced. In the meeting, Manson also expressed interest in filming a video for “Anti-Christ Superstar,” the title song from the studio album of the same name. Filmed in 1996, the music video was originally screened at the 1997 San Francisco Film Festival as part of a program called “Newly Minted Memories” and won a Certificate of Merit in the Music Video category at the festival. Merhige also directed the Glenn Danzig music video of “Serpentia” (1997).

In 2000, Merhige returned to the big screen with “Shadow of the Vampire,” a horror film starring John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack and Eddie Izzard. Working with screenwriter Steven Katz, the film was met with primarily positive reviews and received Academy Award nominations for Best Makeup and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Dafoe). Merhige won a Prix Tournage at the 2000 Avignon Film Festival, Special Mention, received a Beast Film nomination at the 2000 Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival, a Bronze Horse nomination at the 2000 Stockholm Film Festival and an International Fantasy Film nomination for Best Film at the 2001 Fantasporto.

Four years later, Merhige directed and produced the thriller “Suspect Zero” (2004), starring Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kevin Chamberlin and Harry J. Lennix. The film, however, received mixed reviews and was a flop at the box office. In 2006, Merhige wrote and directed the short film “Din of Celestial Birds.” He then directed the music video “The Heinrich Maneuver” (2007), by Interpol.

Merhige is the director of the upcoming dramatic film “Games they Play” (2011), which was written by Leonardo Veras, Marcelo Floriao.


  • Avignon Film Festival: Prix Tournage, USA, “Shadow of the Vampire,” 2000

  • Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: Special Mention, “Shadow of the Vampire,” 2000

  • San Francisco International Film Festival: Certificate of Merit, Film & Video - Music Video, For Marilyn Manson: “Anti-Christ Superstar,” 1997

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