The Vampires of Wartime Paris

In the early 20th century, crime and suspense serials were very popular with cinemagoers. They were like the 24 of the silent film era. One of the finest practitioners of the form was Louis Feuillade (1873–1925), a French writer and director of about 700 films. After the success of his Fantômas, Feuillade was encouraged to repeat the trick, so he set about making Les Vampires. It became a classic of its kind, considered by some modern critics as a masterpiece of silent film. Les Vampires comprises ten episodes with titles that suggest an 18-cert Fawlty Towers: The Severed Head, The Poisoner, The Escaping Dead Man… The action centres on a gang of dangerous criminals known as The Vampires. They aren’t vampires, but some of the film’s style borrowed from Stoker’s great myth (see image below), while a promotional poem made the connection even more explicit. Our hero, Philippe Guerande, is a brave … There’s more