Vampyr trickery entrances with visual TREATS!

*  *  *  *  *

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 Vampyr is a true visual beauty in black and white film.  The film presents incredible imagery dealing with themes of life and death — and illusions of reality versus truths of the dream state.  Light and dark are employed with lush detail and texturing.  Expressive actors’  faces are full of character rather than the bland prettiness often prized these days. The doctor reminds of an evil incarnation of Mark Twain.  Indoor and outdoor scenes are each full of a richness of depth and textures that no amount of color could duplicate nor match.  I had the treat of seeing the film on the big screen at the Tivoli Cinema ( ) as part of a series silent films (and not so silent like Vampyr) presented by UMKC’s Department of Communication Studies and the Westport Regional Business League. It was an eerily gorgeous and thought-provoking experience.  You can view it on a small screen online via Google video, Hulu, and YouTube–take your choice.  


Clicking on the image above will take you to Wikipedia’s article about the film.

A teaser via YouTube–just a taste of the film’s creative visual complexity.  Have shadows ever been more evocative?

Clicking on Allan Grey’s wide open death eyes will take you to rotten tomatoes’ film rating and information. Ever consider what the view is from inside a coffin with a window?


  1. Yousei Hime said,

    January 7, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I know this is long past when you posted, but I have a question. Was there music to accompany the silent film? Didn’t live music, usually organ, go along with the film? Or did you watch it in silence? I can’t decide which would be creepier.

    • January 10, 2011 at 4:10 am

      Ahh the answer is on the clip from YouTube. Listen for yourself to a slice of the soundtrack. This was not a ‘silent’ film. Hi!! You feeling haunted by something at this point in time or what, Rabbit-Poet?

      • Yousei Hime said,

        January 17, 2011 at 2:45 am

        I listened to it. Yay for wireless internet! Very nostalgic music. You are right about the shadows. Let the shadows tell the story. Who needs dialogue. Me? Haunted? Probably, and I suspect it is the ghost of my talent, having withered from disuse and guilt. 😉 Take care and Happy New Year!

      • January 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

        Sounds like your talent needs some watering and nuturing tlc asap, Yousei. Feed your inner “rabbit”. I hope you find something nuturing here. Peace.

  2. artistatexit0 said,

    November 4, 2010 at 3:35 am

    The old black and white movies of the early era are evocative in the way fairy tales used to be. You get just enough information to let your imagination go on a run! Nice post for Halloween indeed!

  3. Artswebshow said,

    November 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

    specal effects ruin a lot of films these days.
    We’ve got to respect the directors of the olden days who had to use their heads.
    i like special effects, dont get me wrong.
    But the appreciation of either/or requires two different mindsets.
    i’ve seen some old films and sometimes i still marvel at what people can acheive without computer effects

    • November 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

      Oh yes, Tart, the old film makers KNEW their medium well enough to do all sorts of wonderful things. IF you ever get the chance to see this on a large screen then see it. You won’t be disappointed.

  4. lesliepaints said,

    October 31, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Cool post for Halloween, Eva! I rememberwatching old black and white horror movies as a kid. They were spookier, to me, than what we see today, as they really tickled the imagination. I actually walked out of the movie theatre one day as a 12 yr old when a dead man started climbing out of his grave in “Black Sunday”. I think there was a casket scene in that one similar to what you have posted, here. Thanks for the memories! Happy Halloween!!!!!

    • October 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      Boo! Leslie! I agree, there is something about old horror films that works on our imaginations rather than just surprising our nerve endings. Happy to tickle your memories in a ‘good’ way. Grins.

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