STYRIA A First Look

Post production on the first major film adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla nears completion.  With that comes a new Facebook Page as well as a teaser trailer online for only 48 hours.  By the time anyone reads this, the teaser will most likely no longer be available.  So we here at Vampires.Com offer a quick precis.

First, some background.  Styria was written and directed by the team of Mark Devendorf and Mauricio Chernovetzky.  It stars Stephen Rea (of The Crying Game, Interview With the Vampire and V for Vendetta fame) and Eleanor Tomlinson (Alice in Wonderland and The Illusionist) as Dr. Hill and his estranged daughter Lara.  The film changes the time period from the mid-19th century to the late 1980s, and location from Austria to a small town in Hungary (i.e. behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War).  Here is an official synopsis:

Lara and her estranged father, Dr. Hill, travel behind the iron curtain to a decrepit castle outside the Hungarian town of Styria. In the nearby woods, Lara witnesses a violent car crash. Carmilla, (Julia Pietrucha), the lone survivor, crawls from the wreckage. When Lara hides this beautiful and mysterious stranger in the castle, the two start an intense and chaotic friendship. As their relationship deepens, crops whither, farm animals die, and the young women of Styria begin to go mad. When local girls are found dead from apparent suicides, Lara wonders if Carmilla is to blame or is there a darker secret behind the mass hysteria destroying the town.

Julia Pietrucha is a former Miss Teen Poland with over a dozen film and television credits under her belt.

The teaser begins with two young women (presumably Lara and Carmilla) running through the woods after dark towards a castle.  Smiling at each other, they open some kind of casket.  Then one enters into a darkened room through what looks like a hole in a stone wall.  Then, we see a middle-aged man in the woods raising a pistol and firing it!  MCMD FILMS fade onto a black screen while an accented older man’s voice intones “It is the duty of the patriarch to insure the guidance of our young women.” We see Lara sitting up in bed, looking unhappy.  “One cannot let the devil take root in these lovely creatures.”  Quick flashes of a young woman drinking something clear (vodka?) from a bottle, and another buttoning up her blouse in a car.  Then Lara again, as she was before.  She holds a razor blade against her forearm, one that bears criss-crossed scars.  “They need a firm hand to be tamed, protected.”  Flashes of more images–female hands opening a coffin, a boy and girl staring at each other face to face, Lara looking up at someone or something, a girl rising from bed as a door opens to flood the room with light, a young man landing on a stone floor head first.  Violin music begins to play, then goes silent as we return to Lara’s unhappy face, same as before.  Fade to black.

A new voice.  Female.  Younger.  With less of an accent.  “Do you think,” she says, “with all your scars you’re ever going to live with him?”  A close-up of Lara’s forearm.  Then of Dr. Hill.  And what looks like Lara looking at herself in a not-very-good mirror.  “An asylum, where they’ll fry your brain, that’s where he was sending you.”  This voice sounds on the verge of tears.  Some girl breaks a window and stares out.  Someone pushes cloth into a frantic young woman’s mouth.  Another (or maybe the same girl) sits up in bed to find her bedclothes stained with blood.  Laura looks from the inside a car at a rustic village.  Then we see her in the woods, looking around her.  “They want to crush us.”  Villagers burning something in the woods.  Someone loads a shotgun.  “To poison us.”  Dr. Hill looking through the woods, as if in search for something.  Or someone.  He reacts to hearing a gun go off.  “They’re jealous of our beauty, of our world.”  Carmilla leans over Lara and  brushes her lips across the other girls’ mouth.  Closeup of a girl’s hand touching another’s bare back.  Then a woman in what looks like a mountain stream at night.  Two female hands side by side, that then clasp together.   “He’s coming to hurt you.”  Lara inside a white-washed room, looking around in something of a panic.  Someone opens a door, letting sunlight into a very dark room.  Lara and Carmilla together, in different places, one of them high up in a castle, possibly a balcony.  “To tear us apart.”  Lara crying in the dark.  Carmilla in a long white gown, bathed in moonlight.  “Come with me If we’re together nothing can hurt us.”  Music swells and we see the title–STYRIA, red on black.  It fades and we see a young woman’s hand reaching out in moonlight, as if beckoning…

Honestly, I am more and more intriguing and looking forward to this film!

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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