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on 6 February 2018
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s ‘Vampyr’ of 1932 has the feel of an earlier silent film, with its dreamlike atmosphere, and excellent use of silhouettes, shadows and natural locations. Thus it’s a lot more ‘artistic and worthy’ than its Hollywood contemporaries - however, unlike the great Universal Studio horrors of the 1930s (of which I’m a great admirer), I just found this film rather dull and uninvolving.

As usual, with ‘Masters of Cinema’, this disc has some fine extras, including interviews with cult director Dreyer, plus a fascinating featurette about the film’s leading man, aristocratic fashionista Baron Nicolas de Gunzberg.
There’s a pretty hefty booklet enclosed too.
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on 30 December 2008
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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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 August 2010
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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on 28 April 2010
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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on 15 October 2012
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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on 11 December 2010
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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on 20 September 2017
great. For anyone interested this movie is out there!
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on 25 March 2015
I saw this a while ago and I liked it very much. Good and scary film with good cast and atmosphere. Classic.
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on 3 October 2015
well pleased with product and service
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on 31 March 2015
Classic horror movie.Item arrived on time.
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