Vampire movies before 1935 (part three)
Hello all! Please forgive the late entry for the three part digital chin wag on Vampire films before 1935. We’ve already taken a look at Nosforatu, the silent film that started the genre, and Universal’s Dracula, the first and (arguable) the best portrayal of the most famous blood sucker. Check my notes for a full run-down on both movies, I will definitely be switching gears here and discuss my all time favourite Vampire movie, simply titled “Vampyr” ((no fancy links no proper trailer to show))
Vampyr was made in 1932 by Danish director Carl Dreyer, the most interesting thing about this film is that it uses source material from Sheridan Le Fanu’s “In the Glass Darkly, most specifically, it takes from the short story Carmilla, and also portions of “The Room in the Dragon Volant” The part that is interesting is that these short stories are what inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula twenty-five years later.
The film itself was very low budget So much so that most of it was funded by Nicolas Gunzburg, who also starred in the film under a different name.
The ironic thing about this movie was how hated it was, first screenings in France were met with boos by the audience, which caused Dreyer to re-cut it after the premier. It was his first sound film but it was recorded in three languages, a process that was very expensive so, the film actually has very little dialogue and relies on bizarre imagery more akin to a silent film.
The story is about a man named Allan Gray who arrives at a mysterious inn, when the film starts it already has an extremely creepy vibe, I remember watching it late at night and being a little put off by the old man with the scythe. The movie follows a disorienting atmosphere and you can never really tell if Gray is awake or asleep in many of the scenes.
This film in general is very subdued and low budget offering a different kind of horror experience that is very visual, The story keeps you guessing and I don’t want to give too much away, Ironically only later in life did critics turn around on Vampyr, the very things that audiences and critics hated about it at the time are what are praised today. Sadly much of this film was lost to the sands of time, but a fairly complete versions exist, although with somewhat butchered audio, and only in the original German. Like always, the whole thing is up on Youtube so give it a watch if you got the time.
This is the last of my Vampire series, I just wanted to maybe shed some light on a few things since nowadays, the genre has changed dramatically mostly due to things like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. I will say that the horror is certainly gone from these creatures, and I frankly don’t like it. It is interesting how Hollywood and media in general propelled vampires into the public psyche and not for the better. It’s all about making them sexy, making them appealing when really, aren’t they supposed to be evil monsters? *le sigh* stay tuned I have some more things coming up, hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you next time.