Cover image for Vampyr
Dreyer, Carl Theodor, 1889-1968, producer, director, author of screenplay.
Publication Information:
[Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, [2008]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (73 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 bonus dvd.
"With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyser's brilliance of achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery was for once applied to the horror genre. Yet the result--concerning an occult student assailed by various supernatural haunts and local evildoers in a village outside Paris--is nearly unclassifiable, a host of stunning camera and editing tricks and densely layered sounds creating a mood of dreamlike terror. With its rolling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema's great nightmares."--Container.

Disc 1: "This is the tale of the strange adventures of young Allan Gray, who immersed himself in the study of devil worship and vampires. Preoccupied with superstitions of centuries past, he became a dreamer for whom the line between the real and the supernatural became blurred. His aimless wanderings led him late one evening to a secluded inn by the river in a village called Courtempierre"--Title screen. Grey starts seeing weird, inexplicable sights (a man whose shadow has a life of its own, a mysterious scythe-bearing figure tolling a bell, a terrifying dream of his own burial) but things come to a head when one of the daughters of the lord of the castle succumbs to anaemia - or is it something more sinister?

Disc 2: Supplements.
General Note:
Frei nach dem roman [Freely after the novel] 'In a glass darkly' von [by] J. [Joseph] Sheridan Le Fanu.

Title from feature.

Originally produced as a motion picture in 1931/32.

Based on the book : In a glass darkly / by J. [Joseph] Sheridan Le Fanu.

Accompanying book, "Writing Vampyr", includes the screenplay by Carl Theodor Dreyer and Christen Jul, and "Carmilla" by Sheridan Le Fanu.

Accompanying booklet, "Vampyr", includes the essays "'Vampyr's' Ghosts and Demons" by Mark Le Fanu, "'Vampyr' and the Vampire" by Kim Newman, "Some Notes on the Restoration of Dreyer's 'Vampyr'" by Martin Koerber, and "An Interview with Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg" by Herman G. Weinberg and Gretchen Weinberg.

"VAMPYR was produced in 1931/32 in German, French, and English versions. The original negative for picture and sound was lost. Partially complete prints of the German and French versions served as the basis for this restoration. The new German version of 1998 was a collaboration between Cineteca del Comune de Bologna, Deutsche Kinemathek and ZDF/Arte."--Opening screen note.

Special features (disc 1): optional "English-text version", optional audio commentary by film scholar Tony Rayns.

Special features (disc 2): "Carl Th. Dreyer" biographical documentary (30 min.); "Visual essay" critical essay featurette (36 min.); "Dreyer radio broadcast" audio recording of Dreyer reading an essay on filmmaking (24 min.).
Opening credits -- "She must not die" -- Heeding the call -- Doctor -- Chateau -- "The Strange History of the Vampire" -- Léone -- Carriage -- Blood sacrifice -- Story of Marguerite Chopin -- Strange dream of Allan Gray -- Wandering spirit -- Casket with a view -- Vampire's grave -- Apparitions -- Mill -- Color bars

Carl Th. Dreyer
Reading Level:
Not rated.
Subject Term:
Added Uniform Title:
Vampyr (Motion picture)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 65847 Adult DVD Media Room-Foreign Language Video

On Order



Vampyr ranks in many circles as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, the story concerns a mysterious series of killings, committed by a crone of a female vampire (Henriette Gerard). The story is told through the eyes of a holiday reveller (Julian West), who at first scoffs at the notion of a supernatural murderer, but who is eventually forced to believe that there are more things in heaven and earth. Dreyer offers few explanations of the phenomena he presents on screen: the strange and frightening happenings just happen, as casually as any everyday occurrence. As was his custom, Dreyer mostly uses nonprofessionals in his cast. Vampyr is available in a wide variety of severely edited and duped versions. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

After making the wrenchingly poignant silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, Danish director Carl Dreyer (Day of Wrath) here made his mark on the horror genre. A student of the occult finds himself enmeshed in supernatural goings-on at an inn near Paris in this obliquely nightmarish movie, which relies on disturbing imagery, intricate sound effects, and highly creative editing to work its not inconsiderable magic. For serious collections. High-def digital transfer. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.