Carl Theodor Dreyer's eerie horror classic stars Julian West as a visitor to a remote inn under the spell of an aged, bloodthristy female vampire. Extremely atmospheric, this rare gem delivers a decided chill.
"This is a great film, one of the most spectral and haunting of all vampire movies. Admittedly, the available prints have been spotty at best. There was a restoration back in the late '60 that took the best footage from a German print and an English language dub print. Truly that effort did justice to Rudolph Matte's imaginative photography. Sadly, this is not that print. By far it's the worst transfer to DVD I've seen yet. The subtitles take up the lower half of the image, and they are gothic German letters on a black masked background! Who's guilty for that? It's become clear that old classics like this are getting rushed into release with little regard for quality, so buyer beware. With a hack job like this out in the market it'll be a long time (if ever) till we see a beautifully restored version of Carl Dreyer's masterpiece on DVD. If you're looking for quality check out Criterion's release of Dreyer's "Passion of Joan of Arc". It's a model of what can be accomplished on the restoration of an old film. With Richard Einhorn's score "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is as fresh and alive as any movie currently in theaters."
Be Careful Before Deploring the Print Quality Here
Jack Rice | California, USA | 07/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't improve on the fine reviews of the movie itself, but there are two major factors connected with the making of the film that may have been overlooked.If by "poor quality," the reference is to the washed out, somewhat spotty look of the print, please be aware that this was deliberate. Cinematographer Matté had accidently opened a can of exposed film, and when Dreyer saw the result, he was delighted. It was just the effect he had been looking for.This film was originally shot as a silent. It was only later half-dubbed with voice-overs. Again, however, like the fortuitous "damage" to the print, the sparse and somewhat vague, even incoherent, dialogue contributes to the sense of dislocation which, I believe, is one of the great virtues of this genre masterpiece."
Great Transfer - Annoying Subtitles
kip garth | Central Texas | 03/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another release from the same folks who produced "Nosferatu" (Film Preservation Assosiates/Blackhawk Films). Excellent print transfer to DVD (and VHS)! I have seen several versions of VAMPYR and this DVD (and VHS version) are by far the best available. Much of VAMPYRS' "poor production" IS intentional, so consider this fact when reading other comments regarding print quality. This is about as good as it's gonna get! BUT I'd like to know who in the F.P.A. is responsible for allowing the atrocious subtitles (same is true for NOSFERATU)????!!! They should be taken out and covered in flour or fully exposed to the sun on a hot summer day! The gothic fonts are not easy to read and Dryer is Danish NOT German! The original (and very cool) opening titles have been replaced with a psuedo aged effect that is not necessary and in some scenes, the subtitles are really huge and also not necessary. What were they thinking??? Obviously, not much! Hey guys, leave the cutesy stuff for another day and just give up the facts! So for you, dear reader: if you can forgive them for annoying subtitles, then this version is well worth the investment!"
One of the great horror films
Dave Clayton | San Diego, CA USA | 03/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed in France by the legendary Danish director Carl Dreyer,Vampyr is not only one of the best horror films but also probably one of the greatest films ever made. Unlike the American horror pictures like Frankenstein that were being made at the same time, Vampyr has relatively little action but a sustained atmosphere of strangeness like that of few other movies. The action takes place during one night and the entire film has a slow, trance-like quality. The picture quality of the DVD is vastly superior to that of the older videotapes--the film was photographed by the great Rudolph Mate--but the sound recording is shaky at the best, and the dialogue is hard to follow even for someone who understands German. The music comes across more effectively but is boomy in some passages--it's a good idea to reduce the bass before viewing. The DVD like an earlier video has quite large subtitles in Gothic type--designed I think to eliminate Danish subtitles--which unfortunately mask a third or so of the picture in some shots."
Good film, abysmal DVD production
Dave Clayton | 02/27/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Wait for a Criterion release (or equivalent). This is a very poor quality DVD- especially evident given the strength and creativity of Dreyer's original material. The subtitles in large gothic script are extremely annoying. The only haunting feeling one has from viewing this DVD is that of being robbed by Image Entertainment."