Starring: Julian West, Rena Mandel, Maurice Shutz,
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
A young student of the supernatural Allan Grey finds that he’s bitten off more than he can shew when he stays for the night in the eerie town of Courtempierre. On his first night he experiences strange images, disembodied shadows, spirits and other bumps in the night.
After a man leaves a letter to be opened in case of his death, and is found murdered the next day, Grey learns that there’s a vampire in the village that must be stopped, and the mystery centres on the man’s strange, sickly daughter.
It’s a Must See Because: although it received mixed reviews on release, the film is one of Europes early forays into sound. It still retains the title cards of silent films, which made it more easily translatable to foreign markets, but it used sound effects to help create mood and tension.
Whilst Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari both came before, and this film uses some of the same visual style, but is also very much it’s own film. Based on the story of Carmilla by Sheriden Le Fanu, the vampire story in which a girls companion and friend turns out to have sinister, blood sucking intentions, rather than the oft used Bram Stokers Dracula. It’s a very creepy, strange, dreamlike film. It messes with your sense of what’s going on and what is real, with creepy, slightly disorienting imagery, and strange characters, dream sequences and imagery of death. It’s a really interesting early horror, and has inspired many film makers that came later.
See It If: you’re a horror fan, this one should be on your list, or if you like vampire narratives. It’s a true classic.