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Les Vampires1915

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  • 4.2
The undisputed master of the espionage serial, Louis Feuillade crafted films with labyrinthine plots and unforgettable characters that influenced multiple generations of filmmakers. Comprised of ten episodes (and clocking in at nearly seven hours in duration), LES VAMPIRES is an unqualified masterpiece. It follows journalist Philippe Guérande (Édouard Mathé) in his efforts to expose a vast criminal organization known as the Vampires. Joined by a comical sidekick Mazamette (Marcel Lévesque), and often competing against a rival gang lord (Fernand Herrmann), Guérande dethrones a succession of the Vampires' Grand Masters. But most evasive of all is the Vampires' muse, a seductive assassin who performs her job with deadly grace: Irma Vep (Musidora).

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"...chronicles the diabolical exploits of a fictional crime syndicate and the investigative journalist trying to bring them down, see[ing] good vs. evil as a parlor game in which safety and protection are grand illusions." - Glenn Heath Jr., Keyframe


Member Reviews (1)

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Modern writers exaggerate this film's influence on the surrealists and the storytelling creaks at the joints like you'd expect for 1915, but if you've got a taste for pulp this ten-episode seven-hour French crime epic is worth the time. Its pace is impressively fast. It also boasts the fetching bohemian presence of Musidora as Irma Vep, the top lady thief in a gang called The Vampires. In true French fashion, she makes the crooks likable and romantic. Each chapter is a game of wits between them and a plucky Paris journalist. Secret codes, faked deaths, phony safes, exploding ships, poison ink pens, thefts in the night, kidnappings through windows, rooftop escapes, forgery, hypnotism, suicide and other fun stuff follows. My advice: See this in the prescribed installments. Do an episode a day. There are no real cliffhangers to get you rabid for the next chapter. There is no great mystery slowly unveiled. There is no surprise ending. What it lacks in suspense, it makes up with cleverness.

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