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Vampire movies before 1935 (part three)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by splatterpictures

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.

Vampire movies before 1935 (part two)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by splatterpictures

Well it’s time to take another look at some Vampire movies before 1935. This next one isn’t a particular favourite of mine, but I feel I can’t honestly overlook it considering it is widely regarded as the definitive movie of the genre and it started the universal monster craze of the 1930’s and 40’s.

I’m of course talking about universal’s 1931 Dracula Starring Bela Lugosi. Like Nosforatu this film was inspired by Bram Stokers Novel of the same name. However Unlike that films director F. W. Murnau who made Nosferatu without permission. Dracula’s director Carl Laemmle, Jr. aquired the rights legally. Thus, created a literal adaptation of the book.

Originally Laemmle wanted popular silent film legend Lon Chaney to depict Dracula but he succumb to throat cancer and was unable to do it. The movie was made during the great depression so the grand set pieces of a lot of genre films of that era couldn’t be made. Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula is as I said considered definitive; it has been copied over and over again. He’s an attractive, and swave nobleman, who also has very sudden but effective bursts of cruelty. I think what keeps me from loving this movie is the fact that since it has been redone so many times it is difficult to watch it without feeling you’ve seen it all before. It does help to remember that this is the one that truly started it all.You can check it out on youtube absolutly free.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of vampire movies before 1935

Vampire Movies before 1935 (part 1)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by splatterpictures

Recently, and by recently I actually mean within the last five years, movies about vampires have become pretty popular. I’ve seen the Vampire Diaries and the Twilights

I mainly wanted to share three films (well two in particular) that started the genre.

First up is Nosferatu : A Symphony of Terror a movie made in 1922 by German director F. W. Murnau. This is the first vampire movie made, and essentially an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracular. However, many things about the movie were a lot different than what Bram Stoker wrote. The Vampire is Count Orlok Instead of England the Movie takes place in a fake city of Wisborg in Germany, also instead of taking place at the end of the 19th century it was in the year 1838. Many other things were changed until what remained was essentially an original production.

The movie premired in Berlin and was given positive reviews. The commercial success was hindered however because of Bram Stoker’s widow. She sued the studio for Plagiarism and Copyright infringement. The courts decided in her favour and al prints of Nosferatu were orderd to be destroyed. We as a culture almost lost this brilliant film, but thankfully it was the olden days and a copy was stashed away for safe keeping.

Max Shriek Schreck’s preformance as Orlok is Creepy, he isn’t an attractive or particularly charming, rather relying on the supernatural to get the job done. The movie has a great use of shadow, and the music is terrific. You can find the entire movie on Youtube for free, check it out!

Stay tuned for Part II…