How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical ... See full summary »
A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is ... See full summary »
A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan... See full summary »
It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »
Victor Frandsen is a domestic tyrant. His wife Ida has to work as a slave for him and the rest of the family. She rises early to prepare everything for the day, she toils all day long, and ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Young traveller Allan Grey arrives in a remote castle and starts seeing weird, inexplicable sights (a man whose shadow has a life of its own, a mysterious scythe-bearing figure tolling a bell, a terrifying dream of his own burial). Things come to a head when one of the daughters of the lord of the castle succumbs to anaemia - or is it something more sinister? Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Visually stunning: The artistic representation of a nightmare
"Vampyr", one of the first horror movies with sound, is the work of the highly influential danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. After directing the monumental "La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc" in 1928, Dreyer decided to make this modest film based on the novel "In a Glass Darkly" by Sheridan Le Fanu; while this is indeed his first movie with sound, it was conceived as a silent film, and the movie contains very few dialog.
I must admit that as many, I was left with a big question mark in my face as the story was progressing; but the apparently disjointed storyline do make sense, as it is worked as a surreal experience of the lead character, it is as if Dreyer had filmed a nightmare, complete with the haunting images and eerie atmosphere.
The movie is about a traveler, named Allan Grey (Julian West), who gets involved in a nightmarish plot when the owner of the inn where he is staying asks him for help to save his family from what he believes is a vampire. We follow Allan Grey in his surrealistic trip to madness as he finds out more and more about the supposed vampire that haunts the manor turned inn.
The highly inventive camera work is truly outstanding, the combination of light and darkness is among the finest work in a black & white film and alone makes the movie worth a look; the movie not only has the structure of a nightmare, it also looks like one. The Gothic manor and the lonely rural exteriors increase the haunting atmosphere and the beautiful images Dreyer conceived are the work of a genius.
The structure of the script may be complicated, but it shows its influence over David Lynch and other filmmakers with similar surrealist story lines and dreamlike sequences. It is probably not a masterpiece of the likes of the aforementioned "Passion" or the more well-known "Day of Wrath" (Vredens dag, 1943), but "Vampyr" shines with its own light as one of the finest horror movies of that period.
The only real flaw in my opinion, was that the lead actor, Julian West, was probably not the best choice for a lead role, as his acting seems unnatural and not believable. I'm not sure if this was intended that way or had more to do with the fact that West produced the film, but it is my only complain about "Vampyr".
This modest masterpiece is a must see for any horror fan or anyone who likes silent movies. It is a nightmarish trip to the darker parts of the subconscious mind. 8/10
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