Vampyr is based on J. Sheridan le Fanu’s collection of short stories; In A Glass Darkly. This atmospheric early vampire tale relies heavily on its images to tell its story; making it the perfect candidate for a picture review. I saved a stupid amount of screenshots for the film, so I also threw together a slideshow! This slideshow is one big spoiler-fest and includes images that tell Vampyr’s entire story. You have been warned. Music courtesy of David Bowie.
Follow Allan Grey, student of the occult, on his strange and haunting journey…
Wandering (as gentlemen in the 30’s apparently did carrying a butterfly net and wearing a suit and tie) late one evening Allan Grey stumbles upon a hotel and decides to spend the night.
As Allan waits to be let inside the hotel he sees a man ringing a bell and carrying a scythe (this is one of the stills I most see associated with Vampyr).
As Allan lay in bed for the night he is alarmed to hear someone enter his room.
An older man walks in and over to Allan’s bedside.
The man replies…
The man walks over to the desk and pulls a package from his pocket. He writes on the package “to be opened upon my death.” The man leaves the package on the desk and exits the room.
Allan decides he must help this man and heads out to explore the area. He finds a seemingly abandoned building where he makes some rather peculiar discoveries.
He follows the shadow of a one-legged man whom eventually meets up with his human body counterpart.
Allan meets Einstein (nameless doctor I am calling Einstein) who asks…
Einstein replies “There is no child here”. He quickly gets rid of Allan, bidding him a good night.
Einstein assists an old woman to a room containing skulls and other bizarre knickknacks.
The mysterious old woman hands Einstein a bottle marked poison. While we don’t entirely know the nature of this duo, it is clear that shenanigans are afoot.
Allan chases shadows and finds himself on the property of a large estate.
Inside the massive home the old man who visited Allan in the night is checking on his gravely ill daughter Léone.
Allan peers though the window at the moment the man is shot.
Allan knocks on the window and shouts…
Alas, it is too late to help the Lord of the Manor.
Allan opens the package marked “to be opened upon my death”. Inside he finds…
The ailing Léone has wandered outside and is carried back in by the family’s servants. Leone believes she is cursed. She says to her sister Gisèle…
Léone’s tears dry up and her frown turns into a sly smile as she follows her sister around the room with her eyes.
When Léone sees Gisèle turn to the comfort of the nurse/nun she shoots her a malicious and angry glance.
That evening the doctor shows up who is none other than Einstein!
Gisèle asks one of the servants “Why does the doctor always come at night?” That is a good freaking question Gisèle!
While Allan donates his blood to Léone, one of the servants has picked up “The Strange History of Vampires” and begins reading where Allan left off.
Allan begins tripping out while he dreams of a skeletal hand offering a vial of poison.
But even stranger and more disconcerting images plague him.
The servant knows what must be done to release the town of Courtempierre from the grip of its horrible curse.
Einstein decides to make a career change from doctor to theoretical physicist. Okay, not really, but I can’t tell you every last detail!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Starring: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz, Jan Hieronimko, Henriette Gérard, Albert Bras, N. Babanini, Jane Mora, Georges Boidin