Halloween countdown banner

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Now we've reached the top twenty and the greatness of the films to follow makes me shudder with morbid glee. I agonized for weeks over the precise order of these choices, pacing up and down my block like a madman, muttering to myself while people who saw me closed their blinds and checked the locks on their doors. But now I've figured it out. Now I'm typing again. Let's continue. "This story is about the strange adventures of young Allan Gray. His studies of devil worship and vampire terror of earlier centuries have made him a dreamer, for whom the boundary between the real and the unreal has become dim." Thus begins the slow and misty dreamscape of Dreyer's "Vampyr", who stated that his aim with this film was to show the horrors of the subconscious mind. He succeeded. Allan Grey, our main character, is traveling when circumstance demands that he stay in a village where an elderly female vampire has been actively enjoying her sanguine repast courtesy of a local girl. This is the earliest take on the already mentioned LeFanu story "Carmilla" but there isn't anything sexy about the female revenant in this loosely adapted version who is an old hunched over woman that no one would want supping at their jugular. The local girl is played by Sybille Schmitz and, in one of my favorite scenes of all time and evermore and what have you, she smiles at her sister, vampirism taking hold, suddenly seeing her sibling as food. Slow, strange, quiet and without any real shocks, this feverish document unfurls in a shadow realm where reality has lost it's hold and troubling dreams hold sway. Overshadowed by Browning's "Dracula" in the year of it's initial release, Dreyer's "Vampyr" is a far more interesting work.


Post a Comment

<< Home