The Sleep of Death (1981)

THE SLEEP OF DEATH (1981)
Article 3112 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-4-2009
Posting Date: 2-20-2010
Directed by Calvin Floyd
Featuring Per Oscarsson, Patrick Magee, Manilu Tolo
Country: Sweden/Ireland
What it is: Arty vampire story

A young Englishman, heir to a great fortune, visits France and becomes enamored with a countess. What kind of hold does the count have over her? And what about the Colonel he keeps encountering? And of the marquis, his strange new companion? And why do people keep showing up dead…?

I’ve only seen this movie once, and I have to admit I’m not quite sure what’s all happened at the end of the movie; it may be the movie was a little too subtle for me to grasp in one viewing, or it may be the movie is muddled. It is quite slow-moving, and, if anything, it reminds me a bit of VAMPYR. This may not be a coincidence; both movies make unusual use of vampire scenarios, and both are based on works by Sheridan Le Fanu (albeit different works). Director Calvin Floyd has a Fellini-esque eye for interesting faces, and the movie does have a nice period sense. There’s also a bit of science fiction content to the movie, as the plot revolves around a drug that puts people in a deathlike state. All in all, I found the movie interesting and unpredictable, but a little too slow to get moving. And it may take a second viewing to figure out the details of the plot.

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