Les Vampires – Ep01: The Severed Head
Of the moonless nights they are kings,
darkness is their kingdom.
Carrying death and sowing terror
the dark Vampires fly,
with great suede wings,
ready not only to do evil… but to do even worse.
I’m having a lot of fun creating a score for this. Les Vampires is a film serial that gave us so much of the aesthetic for iconic gothic imagery its influence can not be overstated. Not a single vampire in sight, but enough mystery, twists and wickedness to fill twenty vampire novels.
Les Vampires (1915) is a 10-part silent film serial. It was written and directed by Louis Feuillade and stars Musidora as “Irma Vep” a femme fatale whose name is a suspicious anagram of “vampire.” The serial is set in Paris, France and follows the exploits of a gang of master criminals (known in the period as an “Apache gang“) who call themselves “Les Vampires.”
There are 10 episodes, averaging around 40 minutes each, totalling about 6 and a half hours.
Olivier Assayas 1996 movie Irma Vep, with a story line of a director’s attempt to remake Les Vampires, is both an homage to the innovative nature of the original film and a critique of the then current state of French cinema.
Over the next few months I’ll be scoring all the episodes of this series:
- La tête coupée (The Severed Head) 33 min. Released on 13 November 1915.
- La bague qui tue (The Killer Ring) 15 min. Released on 13 November 1915.
- Le cryptogramme rouge (The Red Cypher) 42 min. Released on 4 December 1915.
- Le spectre (The Ghost) 32 min. Released on 7 January 1916.
- L’évassion du mort (The Escaping Dead Man) 37 min. Released on 28 January 1916.
- Les yeux qui fascinent (The Hypnotic Gaze) 58 min. Released on 24 March 1916.
- Satanas (Satanas) 46 min. Released on 15 April 1916.
- Le maître de la foudre (The Thunder Lord) 55 min. Released on 12 May 1916.
- L’homme des poisons (The Poisoner) 53 min. Released on 2 June 1916.
- Les noces sanglantes (Bloody Wedding) 60 min. Released on 30 June 1916