Friday, 13 January 2012


Director:  Carl Theodor Dreyer
Screenplay:  Christen Jul and Carl Theodor Dreyer, based on the short story collection In a Glass Darkly by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Starring:  Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Jan Hieronimko, Sybille Schmitz, Henriette Gerard
Genre:  Horror, vampire
Running Time:  75 minutes

This interesting movie is less of a conventional horror movie and more of a surrealistic art film.  The film concerns student and occultist Allan Gray (West) who travels to a remote, rural inn where he encounters an elderly man (Schutz) who, along with his two daughters Gisele (Mandel) and Leone (Schmitz), is being preyed upon by an evil vampire.

For the most part the film doesn't really make much sense, being a succession of dream-like or nightmarish images, such as inexplicable shadows, ghostly figures, and a weird fuzzy looking picture (which was apparently due to a light accidentally "fogging" one of the takes.  Dreyer liked the effect and decided to use it throughout the film).  Interestingly the film focuses almost entirely on the victims of the vampire, with the creature itself being notable mainly by it's absence for most of the film.  This was Dreyer's first sound film and was recorded in three languages.  Due to this Dreyer uses hardly any dialogue, and the version I saw was, in fact, a silent version with a score by Steven Severin  (founder member of Siouxsie and the Banshees).

Many viewers today may find the film frustrating.  It is slow, and a lot of what happens in the film doesn't make much sense and there isn't much in the way of conventional thrills or frights.  However, for those who go along with it and get themselves drawn into the movies hallucinatory world, may find themselves rewarded with a truly unforgettable experience.   

A typically creepy image from Vampyr 

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