What was the secret to Roman Polanski’s success on Rosemary’s Baby (1968)? Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the director immersed himself so deeply in the horror genre, studying the classics like F.W. Murnau’s silent horror film Nosferatu (1922). The year before, he paid tribute to this genre by spoofing it with the film The Fearless Vampire Killers, or: Pardon Me, but Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967), which introduced the director to American audiences. The comedy, part of MOMA’s Carte Blanche: Cindy Sherman series on the films that inspired Sherman’s art, is the complete antithesis to Nosferatu and all horror classics, as Polanski camps up the formula with the usual shtick: a professor and goofy sidekick who fall prey to vampires while aiding a damsel in distress. Although in this film, the damsel in distress is played by Sharon Tate, and Polanski uses quirky sound effects and screwball antics. It’s Twilight meets The Three Stooges.

Sun., April 8, 5:30 p.m., 2012