Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vampyr (1932)

This 1932 classic is a darling of the critics.  Therefore I had high expectations when I sat down to view this film.  Some of those expectations were met, some were not.  Vampyre is an early "talkie" that feels more like a silent film because of its long periods of silence with no dialogue and the continual use of intertitles.  The good news is that Director Carl Dryer and cinematographer Rudolph Mate' are experts at their craft.  Vampyr has a dreamy, other-worldly feel that also employs advanced filming techniques that were seldom seen during that time period.  Instead of lots of still shots, the camera slowly sweeps across and scene and back with expert skill.  Shadow play, reverse film segments and superimposition also add a great deal to the look and feel of the film.
The bad news is that Vampyr is simply not scary at all.  For me, one needs more than expert filmmaking to hit it out of the ball park.  The vampires in both Nosferatu (1922) and Tod Browning's masterpiece Dracula (1931) are great examples from early horror films of how to do it right.  Both of these vamps are creepy and leave a lasting impression long after the film is over.  The vamps in Vampyr are simply human beings lurking on screen and in the shadows.  If the intertitles didn't inform you that they were vampires, you would have no earthly idea this was the case.
So, I'm going to disagree a bit with the critics.  Vampyr is a well made film but it lacks the horror elements that would have made it a truly great film.  Stick with Nosferatu or Dracula instead.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the episode's entry in IMDB.

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