High Stakes

Halloween is no longer Fright Night so much as Amateur Night. (Impossibly high expectations quenched with too much cheap booze likewise ruined New Year’s Eve years ago.) Satisfy your primeval need for cathartic autumnal chills mid-month, courtesy of legendary Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer and Siouxsie and the Banshees cofounder Steven Severin. Reincarnated in the last decade as a go-to composer of moody, keyboard-based film scores, Severin returns to town for two performances of his entrancing original soundtrack to Vampyr (1932), the great filmmaker’s almost wordless dreamscape about innocent villagers endangered by shadowy creatures who feast on humans after dark. Made after his intimate and intense The Passion of Joan of Arc(1928), Dreyer opted for a soft-focus approach that emphasizes the dislocation of the main character (a novice occultist trying to solve the case of his life). Blood is a stand-in for other fluids, of course, in this saga of primal urges and the struggle between fate and free will. Mystery, eroticism, thick atmosphere -- this is the territory Severin has staked out (pun intended) for years. Tonight’s shows, co-presented with San Francisco Cinematheque, present art as an eerie elixir.
Mon., Oct. 15, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2012

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