Thursday, 18 June 2015
Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
The wind of the wings of madness
Traveler David Gray (or Allan Gray, depending upon which version the viewer is watching) arrives at a remote inn, wherein he experiences terrifying apparitions - including a long and haunting sequence of his own premature burial, Poe-style - including spectral visions of dancing shadows filmed at double speed to give a genuinely unsettling effect. Gray is drawn into an adventure in the realms of the uncanny as a rich family are predated upon by a scary old vampiric woman and her doctor henchman.
The story of the film (supposedly lifted from LeFanu's Carmilla via "Through A Glass Darkly") is slight, yet raises an atmosphere as the young girl in the nearby château finds herself preyed upon by her own sister, newly recruited to the ranks of the undead. Gray remains a curiously passive hero, as much an observer of events unfolding as the viewer, and the film's climax - wherein the villain is suffocated by the pure whiteness of the flour in the mill - may not make total narrative sense, yet we are here in the realm of the fairytale, and the purity of white overcoming the darkness seems in this context much more acceptable than it otherwise might be.
Class thru a glass.