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Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Denmark 1932 82 mins.

Shot on location and in three languages at a time when both practices were radical innovations, Dreyer’s haunting vision of the macabre was produced independently. Allan Gray (Nicolas de Gunzburg) is a young occultist who travels to Courtempierre, France, which has been cursed by a vampire (Henriette Gérard). She has much of the town under her spell, including Léone, a young village woman (Sybille Schmitz). With the help of Léone’s sister (Rena Mandel), Gray must break the vampire’s curse before the shadowy horror overtakes the sleepy hamlet. Shot in gauzy black-and-white by Rudolph Maté—who also lensed Dreyer’s legendary silent The Passion of Joan of ArcVampyr remains a horrifyingly beautiful masterpiece, a testament to Dreyer’s inventiveness and sensitivity to aesthetics and stylized storytelling. “Dreyer’s first sound film benefits greatly from silent film visual language—iris shots, double exposures, expressionistic lighting, claustrophobic set design, and a fluid, incredibly mobile use of camera movement. Somehow it is an entirely graceful film and languid. It feels not like a film of a dream, but a film which is a dream.”—Patrick Friel, Cine-file Chicago.

Genres: Silent Film, Horror

Appears in: Carl Theodor Dreyer