Les Vampires  

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"Early cinema was quick to embrace [the femme fatale] image in films such as A Fool There Was (1915), Les Vampires (1915) and The Blue Angel (1930)." --Darwin's Screens (2009) by Barbara Creed

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Les Vampires is a 1915 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 contrary to the title, the Les Vampires were not actually about vampires, but about a gang of master criminals cum secret society inspired by the exploits of the real-life Bonnot Gang. The costume of its heroin Musidora was designed by Paul Poiret.

There are 10 episodes, averaging around 40 minutes each; it is about 6 and a half hours total.

The story of the 1996 movie Irma Vep features an attempt to remake Les Vampires.



  1. La tête coupée (The Severed Head) 33 min. Released on 13 November 1915.
  2. La bague qui tue (The Killer Ring) 15 min. Released on 13 November 1915.
  3. Le cryptogramme rouge (The Red Cypher) 42 min. Released on 4 December 1915.
  4. Le spectre (The Ghost) 32 min. Released on 7 January 1916.
  5. L'évassion du mort (The Escaping Dead Man) 37 min. Released on 28 January 1916.
  6. Les yeux qui fascinent (The Hypnotic Gaze) 58 min. Released on 24 March 1916.
  7. Satanas (Satanas) 46 min. Released on 15 April 1916.
  8. Le maître de la foundre (The Thunder Lord) 55 min. Released on 12 May 1916.
  9. L'homme des poisons (The Poison Man) 53 min. Released on 2 June 1916.
  10. Les noces sanglantes (Marriage of Blood) 60 min. Released on 30 June 1916


In November 1915, the walls of Paris were plastered with street posters that depicted three masked faces with an interrogation sign as a noose, and the questions "who, what when, where?". The morning newspapers printed the following poem:

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


DVD Releases

The film is distributed in the United States in the DVD format by Image Entertainment, spread over two disks. In France, Gaumont has released a special restored edition in 4 disks. Artificial Eye in the UK has used this restoration for their release spread over three disks, which includes several Feuillade shorts.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Les Vampires" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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