Welcome to the Killer Serials on Dieselpunks.
Killer Serials is our segment on Dieselpunks for showcasing cliffhangers and serial thrillers from Hollywood's golden age.
In November 1915, the walls of Paris were plastered with street posters that depicted three masked faces with a question mark 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.
Written and directed by Louis Feuillade, Les Vampires is a ten part criminal thriller set in Paris, France.
La tête coupée (The Severed Head) 33 min.
Released on 13 November 1915.
Behind the scenes of Les Vampires
After the huge success of the Fantômas serial between 1913 and 1914, Gaumont were more than eager to produce another serial, mainly to fend off competition from the rival French film company Pathé (which had just acquired the rights to an American serial, Les Mystères de New York). Louis Feuillade delivered a crime serial in a similar vein, this time a ten part serial (each episode being approximately 40 minutes in length) featuring a gang of seemingly invincible master criminals known as 'the Vampires.'
Stay tuned for part two next weekend on Serial Killers.