Vampyr (Vampyr: Der Traum des Allan Gray)

Dir: Carl Th. Dreyer | Germany/France | 1932 | 70 mins

“Imagine that we are sitting in a very ordinary room. Suddenly we are told that there is a corpse behind the door. Instantly, the room we are sitting in is completely altered. Everything in it has taken on another look. The light, the atmosphere have changed, though they are physically the same. This is because we have changed and the objects are as we conceive them. This is the effect I wanted to produce in Vampyr.” (Carl Dreyer)

“One of the best live scores we’ve heard in years.” (Flatpack Film Festival)
“Outstanding … caught the surreal and intense drama of the film brilliantly.” (Deal Festival of Music & the Arts)
“Beautiful and technically ambitious.” (The Cube, Bristol)
“Minima and Stephen Horne’s devastatingly restrained score.” (Silent London)

There’s a nice review of our 2017 Barbican performance here:

“The only film worth watching… twice…” (Alfred Hitchcock)

Vampyr was based on two stories from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s collection In a Glass Darkly. It was Carl Dreyer’s first production after his Passion of Joan of Arc in 1928 – and his first sound film. Vampyr offers a sensual immediacy that few, if any, works of cinema can claim to match. Dreyer leads the viewer, as though guided in a trance, through a realm akin to a waking-dream.

The score was conceived and written in 2015-16, in collaboration with the internationally renowned silent film pianist and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne. It is a technically ambitious project that incorporates elements of the original soundtrack from 1932. Dialogue and Foley sounds from the original soundtrack are woven into the live performance which features a new array of musical instruments.

Vampyr is a film of superimposed worlds: the film bridges the eras of silent and sound films, with the story itself positioned in a zone somewhere between reality and the supernatural.