Other Sellers on Amazon
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer channeled his genius for creating mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, unsettling imagery into the horror genre. The result a chilling film about a student of the occult who encounters supernatural haunts and local evildoers in a village outside Paris is nearly unclassifiable. A host of stunning camera and editing tricks and densely layered sounds creates a mood of dreamlike terror. With its roiling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema's greatest nightmares.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- High-definition digital transfer of the original German version of the film, from the 1998 restoration by Martin Koerber and the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Alternate version with English text
- Audio commentary featuring film scholar Tony Rayns
- Carl Th. Dreyer, a 1966 documentary by Jorgen Roos chronicling Dreyer's career
- Video essay by scholar Casper Tybjerg on Dreyer's influences in creating Vampyr
- Radio broadcast from 1958 of Dreyer reading an essay about filmmaking
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Mark Le Fanu and Kim Newman, a piece by Koerber on the restoration, and a 1964 interview with producer and actor Nicolas de Gunzburg
- AND: A book featuring Dreyer and Christen Jul's original screenplay and Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872 story 'Carmilla,'; a source for the film
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The main feature is VAMPYR about 70 minutes of dreamlike, black and white cinematography by Rudolph Mate is old (1932) but effectively "fog-drenched" when appropriate and over exposed (sickness, authentic detail, and sunlight) by intention. My subtitles of this German language film were very easy to read as were the placards (reminiscent of silent film) helping to explain the actions of main character Allan Gray (who aimlessly,it appears, wanders into a small town by chance(?) stumbling upon strange man who appears in his room stating 'Don't let her die" and then leaving a letter "to be opened after my death".
Yes, this VAMPYR (Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer) does get a bit confusing, but the images from the start (man carrying scythe down by the lake awaiting the Ferryman...) are stark and memorable. I found it most intriguing the main character (Gray) begins to hallucinate (or is he dreaming or is he dead?) appropriately after giving blood to help revive an ill young lady. There is a coffin carrying scene that is quite effective and chilling. There is also a realistic, close-up dying scene. The acting in VAMPYR (except younger innocent sister ... her blank stare is rather clueless not scared or stunned) seems European "realistic". These actors seem to avoid that overdone silent movie stereotype. VAMPYR is an Expressionistic German horror film.
I watched the 1934 short MASCOT first and came to the conclusion Tim Burton MUST know who the Director Ladislas Starwicz is. A portion of this 26 minute "puppet animation" reminded me of Nightmare Before Christmas. Again good images in a painstakingly frame by frame filming process. Mascot was a bit disjointed in its editing process but the modest length did not bother viewing much at all.
VAMPYR had one 10 second sequence where audio went silent (effectively brooding atmospheric music quite effective, never a "Hollywood" corny detriment) when it was not supposed to.
And be sure and notice why the strange "shadow" people wander on the walls (or dancing 'without a body' on the lake). Yes, sometimes the dead are given a purpose.
There are a couple of fairly original 'local vampire' legends in this very Expressionistic, atmospheric tale.
I would not try to convince someone to buy VAMPYR if you haven't seen if before, but if you have you should be satisfied to know the visuals and subtitles are easy on the eyes for a better understanding of what is going on.
The film begins with a young man searching for a place to spend the night. Fortunately, he finds a house in the countryside whose owner is willing to take him in. He approaches with caution as he's ushered to his room and soon experiences unusual phenomena that puzzles and further disturbs him. His decision to explore coupled with his curious, submissive manner transforms him into a captive of a dire situation unfolding at a nearby estate. He's not sure whether he's hallucinating, dreaming, or if he's crossed over into another dimension...
This is a film that poses a challenge to the viewer expecting another Dracula or Nosferatu with a clear storyline and distinctly evil characters. Vampyr's subtle horror paired with surrealistic elements casts this film into cinema of the highest class: cinema that stimulates the imagination, transports the viewer, promotes wonder, and evokes dreams and nightmares. Dreyer's Vampyr is a mystifying work and is necessary viewing for those who are looking for something above and beyond everyday entertainment.
But more often than not, "Vampyr" gets passed over when you talk about early vampire movies -- and that's a shame. Carl Th. Dreyer's masterpiece (loosely based on the works of J. Sheridan Le Fanu) is a straightforward little story wrapped in a hazy cocoon of dreamlike imagery and haunting direction. From the very beginning, this movie clings to you like a spiderweb.
Occult student Allan Gray is staying at a hotel in the French countryside. But after being woken by a strange old man's cryptic warning, he finds that the inn is swarming with eerie supernatural happenings, including shadows that move independently. After he departs, a strange old man lets an ancient crone out of a closet.
And when Allan arrives at a nearby chateau, he finds that the owner has been murdered, and his daughter Leone is suffering from mysterious wounds. After the girl is rescued from a strange old crone, she begins acting predatory toward her sister Gisele -- and the weird old doctor says that only a transfusion will save her. But the doctor is in league with the vampire -- and is working to destroy Leone...
"Vampyr" has a pretty simple storyline, loosely based on a couple of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's short stories (including the classic "Carmilla"). But it's not the plot that makes this movie a classic -- it's the powerful, ghostly visuals that permeate it. And the beautiful real-life settings (the inn, chateau and church) don't hurt the atmosphere of it all.
In many ways, "Vampyr" is like a silent movie -- the characters are quiet, text cards intersperse the scenes, and several minutes are taken up by printed text from the "History of Vampires" book. In addition to this, the visuals are so powerful that it's almost a shock when one of the characters actually speaks out loud. Even then, nobody says anything unless it's actually necessary.
Dreyer films this movie as if it were a choreographed dream, letting the camera drift through ornate rooms and hazy hills. And he often fixed on striking images -- pale feverish faces, still windvanes, cloudy skies, scythes, and the movement of shadows on walls and the ground. And there are some spectacularly creepy moments, such as when Leone starts baring her teeth gleefully at Gisele, or Allan watching the view from inside a coffin.
And he steeps the entire movie in dreamlike effects -- hazy countrysides, skeletons, floating girls, and shadows that can dance and move independently. These strange effects are done almost effortlessly, adding to the feeling that you're surrounded by the unreal. Dreyer even puts a note of humor in from time to time, such as the dancing shadows with their little folk band.
Julian West (aka Nicolas de Gunzburg) does a pretty solid job as our unflappable hero, although I question how his suit remains pristine all through the movie -- and he does a glorious job in that bizarre dream sequence. Sybille Schmitz has a small part, but is wonderfully feral as she starts to turn vampiric, and Henriette Gérard is unspeakably creepy as the ancient, stone-faced vampire who wants other people to suffer as well.
Criterion has given "Vampyr" the treatment it sorely needed, cleaning up the prints in an effort to restore the clarity. It's also got new subtitles, loads of information about Dreyer, his filmmaking and the creation of "Vampyr," articles about it, the screenplay and one of Le Fanu's short stories. Nice to see this underrated little movie is getting the attention is deserves.
Carl Th. Dreyer's "Vampyr" is a rarity among vampire movies -- all haunting images and ghostly, subtle horror, with excellent acting and exquisite directions. It's a cinematic classic that should not be overlooked.