Vampyr (Dreyer, 1932)

December 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm (Uncategorized)

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A singular vision of nightmarish atmosphere, the influence of this early horror film can be seen in almost all strange, gothic terrors to follow, from Eraserhead to Sleepy Hollow. It’s not concerned with narrative, but with creating a mounting sense of dread and unease through shadows, silhouettes, rolling fogs and a dramatic musical score. In its short running time it gets deep under your skin and stays there. Not the kind of film I could fall in love with, but a curious oddity, astounding in the detailed way it creates such a full, frightening film-world, and well worth seeing to understand the way it shaped so much that came after.

I actually see some of its influence in the book I’m reading now…

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (illustrations by Dave McKean). I really love it and keep picturing it in my head as a movie. It’s very cinematic. The characters just jump off the page and Gaiman has this wonderful ability to create fantasy worlds that show their influence but don’t seem derivative. His “children’s books” are delightfully scary, often moreso than his adult stuff because they’re told from the perspective of the kids. I love his imagery and McKean’s drawings supplement the story so well. A great read so far. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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1 Comment

  1. DJ Rkod said,

    Awesome to hear that Gaiman’s new book is good stuff! I have Vampyr waiting by the TV for a nice appropriately spooky day.

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