Starring: Musidora, Edouard Mathe, Marcel Levesque, Jean Ayme
Director: Louis Feuillade
I have a confession to make, before we go any further. This film is a seven hour long serial, of varying lengths, and I didn’t watch it all. Yes, I know, that’s very naughty, and I call myself a film buff…
Les Vampires is a silent film, a serial in parts that follows the exploits of reporter Phillippe (Mathe) as he investigates and tries to outwit the crime ring known as The Vampires. They terrorise Paris with their crimes, whilst wearing leotards and bat wings, hence their name (sorry, no neck biters here). They are led by a succession of Grand Vampires, who are over come one by one, but the real star is Irma Vep, played by the startling and fascinating Musidora, who is the lynch pin of it all.
It’s a funny serial, full of strange sets and various violent goings on that you wouldn’t entirely expect of a film from this era. There are trap doors, secret passage ways, and no one is as they seem… It kind of makes the Vampires look way more interesting than the good guys. It’s kind of crazy, and yet.. also wonderful.
As a precursor of the modern thriller genre, and since it’s episodes don’t contain cliffhangers, it’s something that you can dip in and out of, if you don’t feel like watching a 7 hour silent film.
See It If: you love thrillers or surrealism and wild imagery, it’s a pretty cool film.