Les Vampires

Critics Consensus

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95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,156
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Movie Info

Louis Feuillade's pioneering silent serial -- whose ten episodes weigh in at nearly eight hours -- concerns Guèrande (Edouard Mathé), a journalist who is trying to uncover the truth about a mysterious society of anarchist gangsters who call themselves Les Vampires. While they don't drink the blood of the living, Les Vampires are the uncrowned monarchs of the criminal underworld, and as Guèrande struggles to learn the full extent of their lawless activities and the true identity of leaders the Grand Vampire (Jean Aymé) and Irma Vep (Juliet Musidora), he learns a tremendous amount about their intelligence, their cunning, and their treachery. A runaway hit in its initial release, which proved to be a major influence on the work of Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock, Les Vampires also inspired Olivier Assayas' revisionist look at the film's leading lady, Irma Vep. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Les Vampires

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (1)

  • A few hours of it, however, was sufficient to convince this viewer that this French opposite number to The Perils of Pauline is the ultimate in cinema camp. It is a lurid, slow-moving, grotesque stretch-out of fantastic adventures.

    Apr 18, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Even at nearly eight hours, the series has ingenuity to spare.

    Apr 18, 2019 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Les Vampires, with thrill upon stunt upon criminal chicanery, is as modern as Rush Hour or The X Files.

    Apr 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Louis Feuillade's extraordinary ten-part silent serial of 1916, running just under eight hours, is one of the supreme delights of film.

    Oct 16, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There's a hero (a resolute reporter), but all the interest goes to Irma and Co -- their heists, their feuds with a rival gang and with the agents of law and order, all conducted by means of slaughter... on a scale and insouciance appropriate to the time.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Bob Baker

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Seemingly taking the technology and style of the day, and pushing it to its absolute max, there are aesthetic touches within this series that feel as vibrant as anything today.

    Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Les Vampires

  • May 21, 2008
    this isn't a horror movie; it's a crime thriller. produced by gaumont to compete with the popular perils of pauline serial, it's divided into 10 parts, average 30-45 minutes. these were shown in theaters before the main feature. the story follows reporter philippe guérande's investigation of the mysterious exploits of a gang of master criminals known as les vampires. it's full of nefarious plots, disguises and daring escapes, with stunning stuntwork. musidora, a former acrobat, plays irma vep, cinema's first femme fatale, slinking around in a body stocking like catwoman. comic relief is provided by guérande's friend mazamette, who often appears to address the camera. yes it took awhile to get through, but for the most part it was highly entertaining :)
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2007
    I never gotten around to seeing all of it in one sitting. I mean, c'mon. 7+ hours!! Luckily it's comprised of ten episodes of varying length so it's more like a series than an actual feature film. It's a curious film as both the good guys and bad guys are real sons of bitches, and the good vs evil is a blurry line at best, also because of Musidora's immense charisma on screen. But perhaps it's also typical of it's time, like Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" and other films of that era, the morals are often quite questionable, and will make you glad you didn't live in those times. Either way, I felt repulsed and sorry for everyone in Les Vampires in the brutal ending, which I won't spoil here in case you have 7 and a half hour off tomorrow and planned on seeing this! The story is a bit complex and jumps from place to place and in time quite often, so keep sharp. And also notice the duality in this. Everything is as it seems, and nothing is as it seems. A judge, a priest and a police officer turns out to be vampires, and some vampires turns out to be the police in disguise(!) and for every passenger in a taxi, there's a blind passenger on the roof. And the taxi's have holes in te floor to make a quick exit into the sewers. The big château's with it's massive walls are full of secret passages and fireplaces with openings and traps. It won't take more than a blink of the eye to get from our everyday world, and enter into a world of darkness, deceit and secrets. Just the kind of stuff I love! It's like an early matrix :P
    a z Super Reviewer

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