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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare on film
I remember buying this film on region 1 ages ago and just didn't understand what the fuss was about.I found it to be slow,gloomy and pretty poorly acted so I promptly sold it.Then I heard about this latest DVD release with many extras so I thought that I would give it another chance.I am really glad that I did and was quite shocked at how my opinion had changed...
Published on 20 Nov. 2008 by Mr. A. Whiteside

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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vampyr
I am afraid i did not no what to expect,not having read about it before i purchased it.However it is moody and atmospheric,not your usual bloodsucking film.
Published on 28 Sept. 2010 by Dracul


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nightmare on film, 20 Nov. 2008
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Mr. A. Whiteside "tonyjackie3" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
I remember buying this film on region 1 ages ago and just didn't understand what the fuss was about.I found it to be slow,gloomy and pretty poorly acted so I promptly sold it.Then I heard about this latest DVD release with many extras so I thought that I would give it another chance.I am really glad that I did and was quite shocked at how my opinion had changed.

'Vampyr' is really a nightmare captured on film with many strange but unsettling images.It isn't a long film but it does make you wish that it was perhaps 15 to 20 minutes longer.It is dripping with atmosphere and I have to admit that it probably won't appeal to modern viewers who are more used to blood and gore teenage slasher flicks now.Maybe that is unfair in a way because this is far more haunting than many a recent horror movie and it could still have an impact.

There are some very good extras with this DVD including a special booklet and a commentary from devoted fan Guillermo del Torro.There are a couple of deleted scenes and a choice of soundtracks(restored or unrestored).There has been a lot of good work by Eureka in putting this package together for their 'Masters Of Cinema' series so well done to them.Hardly any dialogue is spoken in this movie and it isn't needed as it is the images that count and in that respect 'Vampyr' is indeed a classic of the genre.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic supernatural movie overflowing with extras, 30 Dec. 2008
By 
MarkusG "Markus" (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
Vampyr was made by Dreyer in 1930 when sound were new in cinema. And this shows because it mostly feels like a silent movie: there are few dialogues. This also has too do with the fact that Dreyer had to record the film in english, german and french, so scenes with speech had to be repeated. With the effect that those scenes were kept to a minimum. Vampyr was shot on location, in a castle, a flour mil, an ice factory and an inn, as I understand it. Economy was limited and the film was financed by baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, on condition that he played the lead (Allan Gray) in the film! And, as Guillermo del Toro says in his commentary: the baron looks just like HP Lovecraft!

The film itself is grainy, with intent capturing the right kind of light and fogginess. The speech sounds disjointed and the locations and logic of actions can be confusing to say the least. Vampyr was no success with the audience in it's time of release, and it's not too hard understanding why. The first time I was Vampyr I actually was disappointed because it felt so strange and a little silly with the vampire manual that Allan Gray reads from (a manual given to him by a strange man appearing in his hote room in the middle of the night). But undeniable is the visual impact because Vampyr looks really original and very dreamlike: one can actually discuss how much of the action takes place in 'reality' and in Greys mind with it's focus on the mystical and supernatural.

Some months after watching Vampyr I returned to it with the feeling that I didn't 'get it' the first time. Luckily it was the MoC DVD overflowing with extra material that I bought. I listened to the del Toro commentary and right after that I listened to the commentary by Tony Rayns (yes there are two different commentary tracks) which gave another perspective. Both commentaries are fascinatint and worth listening to and give Vampyr a new dimension, supplying alternative interpretations, facts about production and pointing out details easily missed. Also, the DVD includes a 30 min 'visual essay' by Dreyer-scholar Jörgen Roos which contextualises Vampyr, and also a documentary about Dreyer. As if this wasn't enough there is also a short (14 mins) documentary about the baron, and a pdf with the story 'Carmilla' which inspired Vampyr. And as usual there is a thick booklet with essays, pictures etc.

After going through the extras - which was a delight and far more rewarding than actually watching the movie! - Vampyr (and Dreyer) has gained my respect. The film does not explain itself totally - I still see it as en enigma what actually happens when Allen Grey sees himself in the coffin (the most famous scene in the film). But this, as in the films of David Lynch, is part of the charm that makes it interesting and re-watchable.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A human soul in fear of death, 3 Jun. 2008
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
The rat-toothed Nosferatu and the charming Transylvanian Count are the best known examples of early vampire movies, mostly because there weren't very many others at the time.

But more often than not, "Vampyr" gets passed over when you talk about early vampire movies -- and that's a shame. Carl Th. Dreyer's masterpiece (loosely based on the works of J. Sheridan Le Fanu) is a straightforward little story wrapped in a hazy cocoon of dreamlike imagery and haunting direction. From the very beginning, this movie clings to you like a spiderweb.

Occult student Allan Gray is staying at a hotel in the French countryside. But after being woken by a strange old man's cryptic warning, he finds that the inn is swarming with eerie supernatural happenings, including shadows that move independently. After he departs, a strange old man lets an ancient crone out of a closet.

And when Allan arrives at a nearby chateau, he finds that the owner has been murdered, and his daughter Leone is suffering from mysterious wounds. After the girl is rescued from a strange old crone, she begins acting predatory toward her sister Gisele -- and the weird old doctor says that only a transfusion will save her. But the doctor is in league with the vampire -- and is working to destroy Leone...

"Vampyr" has a pretty simple storyline, loosely based on a couple of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's short stories (including the classic "Carmilla"). But it's not the plot that makes this movie a classic -- it's the powerful, ghostly visuals that permeate it. And the beautiful real-life settings (the inn, chateau and church) don't hurt the atmosphere of it all.

In many ways, "Vampyr" is like a silent movie -- the characters are quiet, text cards intersperse the scenes, and several minutes are taken up by printed text from the "History of Vampires" book. In addition to this, the visuals are so powerful that it's almost a shock when one of the characters actually speaks out loud. Even then, nobody says anything unless it's actually necessary.

Dreyer films this movie as if it were a choreographed dream, letting the camera drift through ornate rooms and hazy hills. And he often fixed on striking images -- pale feverish faces, still windvanes, cloudy skies, scythes, and the movement of shadows on walls and the ground. And there are some spectacularly creepy moments, such as when Leone starts baring her teeth gleefully at Gisele, or Allan watching the view from inside a coffin.

And he steeps the entire movie in dreamlike effects -- hazy countrysides, skeletons, floating girls, and shadows that can dance and move independently. These strange effects are done almost effortlessly, adding to the feeling that you're surrounded by the unreal. Dreyer even puts a note of humor in from time to time, such as the dancing shadows with their little folk band.

Julian West (aka Nicolas de Gunzburg) does a pretty solid job as our unflappable hero, although I question how his suit remains pristine all through the movie -- and he does a glorious job in that bizarre dream sequence. Sybille Schmitz has a small part, but is wonderfully feral as she starts to turn vampiric, and Henriette Gérard is unspeakably creepy as the ancient, stone-faced vampire who wants other people to suffer as well.

Criterion is apparently giving "Vampyr" the treatment it sorely needs, cleaning up the prints in an effort to restore the clarity. It's also got new subtitles, loads of information about Dreyer, his filmmaking and the creation of "Vampyr," articles about it, the screenplay and one of Le Fanu's short stories. Nice to see this underrated little movie is getting the attention is deserves.

Carl Th. Dreyer's "Vampyr" is a rarity among vampire movies -- all haunting images and ghostly, subtle horror, with excellent acting and exquisite directions. It's a cinematic classic that should not be overlooked.
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film - and this Edition is the Best, 28 Aug. 2008
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
Well, I got this DVD (R2 MoC Version) - and gave it a longish spin last night. Given the number of extras I couldn't get through it all in a single sitting - so I'll revisit today probably.

Anyway - the print looks as good as it ever will, probably. Definitely decent (and Criterion are using the same print, so we know we're getting the best possible).

Firstly I watched the film with the restored soundtrack (an unrestored version is on the disc too). There's still some hiss, but when you take into account the history of this film, that's to be expected. For those that don't know, the film was shot silent, and then sounds were post-synced in three languages - English, German, and French. Only the German and French tracks remain - this disc uses the German version. Dialog is minimal.

As for the film, it's a classic, and so needs no hyping from someone like myself. It's a fantastic counterpoint to the Universal titles released around the same time. The Universal titles are hailed as classics (and they are), but they also gave us some of the first sound glimpses into what would become the customs and norms of narrative story telling, and of the language of film. However, there were alternative methods offered up, and cinema could have been quite different - Vampyr is as example of one of these alternatives (Un Chien Andalou offers a more radical approach from the surrealists). Vampyr plays with narrative structure quite a bit, and breaks all kinds of screen boundaries. Along with this we have a rather interesting and straight forward tale of a Vampire - so the film can satisfy both fans of straight up horror, and those interested in critical analysis and study.

After watching the film I immediately put it on again, this time with the first of two commentary tracks. First up was the track from Tony Rayns. This track also appears on the Criterion disc.

It's a decent commentary, jam-packed with information. It's a tad dry and it's clear that Tony is a film scholar. He guides you through the various techniques and decisions made, and the history of the film. There are no pauses, and Tony fills in the time well. It is definitely worth listening to this one.

Did I like this film? Well, it's rare I watch a film, and then watch it right away with the commentary in order to learn more. So you can imagine how rare it is for me to sit and immediately watch and listen with a second commentary track - this time an exclusive for the MoC disc. It's with Guillermo del Tore, director of Pans Labyrinth and Hellboy.

This commentary track is the better of the two. It's quite a scoop that MoC got the guy to do this track, but it goes one better and introduces a boatload of new ideas, interesting discussion, and opportunities to think about the film itself. This track is the more essential of the two. No information is repeated between commentary tracks.

If you want to know the differences between the two, I'd put it this way: Tony Rayns is clearly a scholar, he's very interested in the details, and dissecting the skills involved. But it comes across as more of a lecture, academic in tone. Tony doesn't sound like he loves film (though I'm sure he does). He's doesn't come across as being excited by it. He knows a lot, but there seems to be a lack of passion. On the other hand the del Toro track is the effort of a man in love with cinema, in love with this film, and with unique ideas about what it's trying to say to us. del Toro is in awe, but never gushing - he just has a passion as a filmmaker that Rayns doesn't seem to have. Both tracks are a pleasure and worthy inclusions - but the Criterion missing out on the del Toro track is a bit of a tragedy.

I wasn't sure going in whether this additional exclusive for Moc would truly be worthy - but now I've heard both I'd say they offer a wonderful counterpoint, and if I had to choose (and thank goodness I don't) I'd go with the del Toro. The del Toro track spends a lot of time discussing the lead as a Jesus figure, and the film's many Memento Mori allusions. Brilliant. He even throws in a couple of moments from Vampyr that he stole for his own films.

I then watched the two deleted scenes (sound issues prevented the scenes being added back into the film). They're short, and definitely worth watching. It was the German censor who snipped these, and by todays standards they're not shocking. Nice to see them here though.

Along with all this I read the 80 page booklet. What can you say about that? If you bought MoC's Nosferatu disc (and if you haven't, why not?!?!) then you know what to expect. It's packed with lots of articles and pictures - and is worth the price of this DVD alone.

There are other extras, another approximately 90 minutes or so - featurettes on Carl Th. Dreyer (Director), one on the lead (who was a Baron!), and one on the films influences. I'll hopefully get to them soon.

One final extra - there is a PDF on the disc with the original stories that inspired Dreyer to make the film (Sheridan's Le Fanu's Carmilla). It's 124 pages long should you want to print it out. Nice addition that.

The film is 72 minutes in length, and a real joy. MoC have put out a stellar DVD. I can't imagine what else they could have put on it. There's a choice between this edition and the Criterion - but the exclusive inclusion of the del Toro track means the MoC edition is the better of the two, imo. Having heard both commentary tracks, the del Toro one offers the more interesting discussion (though both are worthy - if very different).

Essential this - and I just had a terrific nights entertainment. That I watched it, back-to-back, three times consecutively, says it all.

Buy it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD perfection, 28 April 2010
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
If anyone out there is thinking of dabbling in early Horror then the Euerka Masters of Cinema series is your first port of call. Their Nosferatu and Faust discs are fantastic and this, slightly more obscure, Dreyer movie is given the absolute Rolls Royce treatment. Given all the ill informed rubbish talked about the horror genre (regressive, infantile..) it's a joy to see such care and attention lavished on one of its minor masterpieces.
More than any other, this is a movie which requires multiple viewings. It is hypnotic, dream-like and utterly disorientating. A man, Allan Gray, visits cinemas creepiest hotel (Eraserhead and Barton Fink were born here) and is beset by the vampiric forces of evil. Plot wise it's thin but it's the visuals that matter - the dancing shadows, the view from a coffin, the flour mill - even if you've never seen this film you will get a chilly twinge of recognition - these images plumb directly into the subconscious.
I totally agree with the previous reviewer - the Guillermo Del Toro commentary is unmissable - his knowledge and insight I expected, but a fanboy enthusiasm for a film nearly 80 years old - brilliant!
In short if you collect genre films or indeed any films you need this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vampyr, Eureka Masters of Cinema # 25 - A masterful dreamlike film, and another great presentation from Eureka., 16 Aug. 2010
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Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
Any film that Hitchcock deemed `The only film worth watching - twice' has a lot to live up to. And when I first viewed this recently it did not disappoint.

We are taken on a strange journey, where we follow the adventures of one Allan Gray, student of the arcane. Staying in a village inn he has a series of strange visitations, and is slowly drawn into the world of the local Chatelain and his attempts to protect his two daughters from an unknown terror that threatens to destroy them in this life and the next. The plot seems quite straightforward, but it is presented in a superb surreal fashion.

Allan Gray wanders around as though a man in a dream. Seeing many strange visions, including his own burial, there is a feeling that he is a man under a dark spell, and the film is the story of his struggle to break free. The cinematography is masterful, with most of the film deliberately overexposed and filmed through a gauze to produce the dream like feeling. There are many trick shots and cinematic illusions which stand up well, even today, and really add to the surreal feel of the piece.

Made in the very early days of talkies, this feels a lot more like a silent film. The dialogue is sparse, and much of the plot is exposited via intertitles and an old book that one of the characters reads. What dialogue there is was recorded on very basic equipment, and as such sometimes sounds a bit distant. \Far from being a problem, this only serves to heighten the dreamlike quality of the film.

This is yet another super release from Eureka. The film has been restored and is presented in the best possible quality. The sound is pretty good, although it does cut out in one or two places for a few seconds. This did not affect my viewing pleasure though. The film is presented in the correct aspect ratio. There is a host of extras, including some extended scenes that were originally censored, two full length commentaries and some documentaries about the film and it's star Julian West, AKA Baron de Gunzburg. There is also a PDF of the book that inspired the film. Finally there is an extensive book with many cast photos, essays and interesting info. All of these are mere garnish though, the main attraction is the excellent presentation of this classic and adsorbing film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere, 11 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
This is maybe the only film up to the quality of Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) although Vampyr is a completely different film. In Vampyr the most important thing is the atmosphere, not the vampire in itself (herself in this case). It's a masterpiece because Dreyer translated into images and sequences the feeling that something irrational and supernatural is happening. Fog, a lot of shadows on the wall/ground, some pictures you will never forget in your life once you have seen them for the first time. A lot of symbolism. There are also a lot of unanswered questions in the film, because of the script or because of the final editing (montage) of the film (i guess this last). These unanswered questions help the film to increase the level of unreality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very haunting movie, 5 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
After making his masterpiece, The Passion of Joan Of Arc, Dreyer made another impressive work, one which deals with the paranormal universe of the vampire. But instead of the now unbearable Twilight vampires which are more ridiculous than mysterious, we have instead a very haunting vampire, and also paranormal, story here. The visuals are very impressive, for the year they were done which was 1932, and they are very effective. they offer us an eerie and almost nightmarish atmosphere that adds to the drama of the story. Even the music helps making the atmosphere more haunting, straight from the credits at the beginning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars masters of cinema dvd, 15 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
I reallly enjoyed this movie, it has some great visuals. considering when it was made back in the 30's the picture quality is as decent as could be expected.the only minor quibble is that the subtitles flash up so quickly that i had to press the pause button to read them all and the writing was very small.the extras as mentioned in other reviews are excellent and give a nice historical background to what is a fine film
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4.0 out of 5 stars Old films can still be good fro today's audiences., 30 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] (DVD)
I personally have only recently got into black and white films. I have loved the elephant man film for a few years now even tho the film is not actually that old it proved to me that black and white can work better that colour. I will also add that I am not really a vampire film fan except let the right one in (Swedish) and the new TV series the strain.

Now the vampyr. For its age the film is looking good. The picture has its grainy and foggy look that makes you feel like you are watching a dream but it is not a bad looking film at all. Comparing it to other 1920s and 1930s films I have been watching it seems to have fared well over the years. The acting is not exactly perfect compared to today's standards and on occasion it is a bit cringe but most of the time the acting is well done. The story works like any silent film even tho the film has some small lines of dialog. There are shots on the screen with the story so far and also shots from a book to further the story.
The story to vampyr is not the average vampire film where weird creatures stalk the night. The story to the film is a slightly confusing affair after the first half. There is a lot of small thongs that happen through out the film that seem weird at first but slowly start to make some sense and some that are down right confusing. The story is no action packed film with any fighting or the normal vampire folk law it is a slow paced film that builds up atmosphere through the visual stylings. The film can at times be no easy watch but at the short length of 1 hour 15 it is not long to get your bearings for a second viewing. I have seen it 3 times now once a year ago and twice in the past few weeks.

The artistic cinematography on this film really shines and is very my style of film. Shots of shadows with no person on screen ect. The special effects are not bad ether there is no silly makeup. The film is gothic as expected from a film on vampires.

The soundtrack I may or may not have been different. I have watched the film with its original soundtrack with which is good but not as atmospheric as the film deserves in my feeling. I also watched the film while playing the newly made soundtrack by drone metal band year of no light which added the atmosphere this made the film more gripping for someone that is more into metal music.

Then my DVD copy arrives I will add comment on the extras and the booklet.

A good film that I love with the added soundtrack.
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Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932]
Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] by Carl Th. Dreyer (DVD - 2008)
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