vampyr51VAMPYR: FROM CARMILLA TO CARL DREYER
It started out simply enough, as a review of the 1932 horror film VAMPYR. But as in all aspects of life, I have no self-control, and so off we go into a history of vampire literature, the transition from silent to sound film, the Pagan-horror stories of Arthur Machen, the wild costume parties of Baron Nicolas Louis Alexandre de Gunzburg, and yeah, somewhere in there we talk about Vampyr.

“As mentioned, the film’s protagonist is Allan Grey (Julian West), described in a title card as a man steeped in the study of the occult and macabre secrets of the world and prone to wandering the land in search of mysterious experiences (inspired, some claim, by the character of Dr. Martin Hesselius from In a Glass Darkly). That might be one of the earliest examples of the “informed attribute,” when a movie insists that a character embodies a particular skill or trait despite all evidence on screen to the contrary. Allan Grey seems to have absolutely no knowledge of the occult or any sort of competency in identifying it or dealing with it. In fact, his sole skills seem to be looking in windows and bugging his eyes out in confused terror.”


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.


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