Vampyr

"Excellent"

Vampyr Review


In the annals of vampire cinema, the classic Nosferatu is often the first and last word on the subject. It began with F.W. Murnau's landmark work, and that's that.

But 10 years later, cinematic master Carl Theodor Dreyer made another influential film, Vampyr, and though it may not have the geek cred that Nosferatu does, it's still worth seeking out if you want to see horror's origins.

Vampyr, which is not based on Bram Stoker's Dracula but rather the book In a Glass Darkly, is awfully simple in structure: Traveler Allan Grey (Julian West, who helped produce the film) happens upon a strange (of course) village, which is good, because he's into occult studies and carries books that just might explain why a creepy dude gives him a package not to be opened until he dies, and why shadows dance on the walls when no one is there to cast them. Ultimately he encounters the requisite sick woman, learns about vampires via the package in question, and hallucinates that he is dead and hunts down the vampire responsible for the woman's ailment. (In this version of the vampire tale, vampirism can be cured by slaying he who did the biting.)

Dreyer's audacity is on full tilt here, with not just impressive shadow work but also scenes played eerily in reverse and double exposures making for a nifty ghost effect. The camerawork is in fact so startling that it far overshadows the relatively threadbare plot. Though Vampyr doesn't really embrace the mythos that we've come to expect in a good vampire movie, it's remarkable for the way that it explored the occult some 76 years ago.

Fascinating stuff, but probably more enlightening for film nerds than those looking for much of a scare.

Criterion's new DVD includes a reconstructed print (though quite scratch-and-poppy; the original negative has been lost), new English title cards (needed considering the 100-plus scrolling words Dreyer often jams onto the screen), commentary from scholar Tony Rayns, and a second disc of supplements, including a 1966 documentary on Dreyer, and two essays about the director. A full book including the complete script and a short story, "Camilla," a source for the film, are also included in this monster DVD set.

Aka Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey.



Vampyr

Facts and Figures

Run time: 75 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th May 1932

Distributed by: General Foreign Sales Corp.

Production compaines: Tobis Filmkunst

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 29

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Julian West

Starring: Julian West as Allan Grey, Henriette Gérard as Marguerite Chopin, Jan Hieronimko as Doktor, as Schlossherr, as Léone, Rena Mandel as Gisèle

Also starring:

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