Blu-Ray Review: Vampyr

Today’s modern horror films, especially those which make it into multiplexes, tend to be full of flashy effects and polished to within an inch of their lives. Often featuring a score that is so obtrusive you’ll possibly want to tear your head off. It hasn’t always been this way and much of the output coming from the independent sector is really promising. Despite being 90 years old, Vampyr is a still a great example of how to do things right.

Allan Gray (Julian West) is obsessed with the supernatural, travelling around the world in search of knowledge. He arrives in the French village of Courtempierre, but is awakened from his slumbers on the first night by a strange apparition. This leads him to an old castle and an encounter with the Lord of the Manor (Maurice Schutz), but something isn’t quite right. What lurks in the shadows, waiting to pounce?

Vampyr remains a masterpiece of genre filmmaking, creating a world drenched in dread and laced with danger. Carl Theodor Dreyer keeps his audience on their toes, using slight of hand and great effects work, which still stands up today, to weave his tale. Positioning his yarn somewhere between waking horror or nightmarish dream, we’re led on a merry dance through the seen and unseen. Vampyr is a devilish delight.

Special features:

  • Limited Edition Hardbound Slipcase [3000 copies]
  • All-new 2K digital restoration of the German version by the Danish Film Institute, completed in 2020 after an extensive decade-long restoration process, with uncompressed mono soundtrack
  • Optional unrestored audio track
  • Two audio commentaries: one by critic and programmer Tony Rayns; the second by filmmaker and Vampyr fan Guillermo del Toro
  • Visual essay by scholar Casper Tybjerg on Dreyer’s Vampyr influences
  • New video interview with author and critic Kim Newman on Vampyr’s unique place within vampire cinema
  • Two new video interviews with music and cultural historian David Huckvale on the film’s score and its adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Carl Th. Dreyer (1966) – a documentary by Jörgen Roos
  • Two deleted scenes, removed by the German censor in 1932
  • The Baron – a short MoC documentary about Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg
  • Optional English subtitles
  • A 100-PAGE BOOK – featuring rare production stills, location photography, posters, the 1932 Danish film programme, a 1964 interview with Baron Nicolas de Gunzberg (producer and actor “Allan Gray”), an essay by Dreyer on film style, and writing by Tom Milne, Jean and Dale Drum, and film restorer Martin Koerber [3000 copies]

Vampyr is back in cinemas on 20 May and will be released on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of the Master of Cinema collection on 30 May.

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