Monday, January 2, 2017

Day 63: Vampyr

Still chugging through the 1930s, I finally saw this near-silent classic on New Year's Eve. It is very dreamlike (in fact the subtitle is something like The Dream of Allan Grey) and the first forty minutes or so are very slow and disorienting. A young man in the countryside of Europe stops at an inn where an old man busts into his room with a vague warning about "not letting her die." Before the night is through, Allan (or David, in some translations) is caught up with a household that may be under attack from a local vampire, as well as a kind of rapey old doctor. Allan has a handy book that tells him all about the history of vampires in this small town that almost provides some narrative logic on which a viewer can hang his hat. Mostly, though, it is creepy images (like a one-legged soldier whose shadow moves independently of his body) and unsettling performances that give this movie its power.

The movie, while putting me into a sort of half-awake state myself, also inspired me to jot down some ideas for a short horror movie I would like to make myself. I realized from this how much mileage you can get out of fairly simple things like supposedly locked doors slowly opening in the night, etc. I can't say the pacing of this movie is for everyone and it is definitely more on the artsy side of things. Still, if the imagery and tone of a movie mean a lot to you, check this one out.

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