Thursday, January 20, 2022

365 Days: #20 Les Vampires Episode 4: The Spectre (1916)

What evil will those nasty Vampires be up to in today's episode? 

#20 Les Vampires Episode 4: The Spectre

The Grand Vampire is posing as real estate agent, Monsieur Treps, when businessman, Juan-José Moréno arrives at his office to get help finding an apartment with a safe. M. Treps sets him up in a nice neighborhood with a large safe that just happens to back up against the wall to Irma Vep's room, who is listening with her ear to the wall.

Moréno returns to his new apartment with a little black bag. Irma Vep and M. Treps are listening together in the next room, and when they hear the safe shut, ply the back off the safe from their room and remove the black bag. Inside the bag, they find black clothing, much like Vampire gear, and the tools of their trade. They place the black bag back in the safe. 

Meanwhile, at the Renoux-Duval Bank, M. Renoux-Duval leaves a note for carefree M. Métadier, who is taking his time returning from the Stock Exchange, asking him to take 300,000 francs to their agency in another town on the 10:30 train Monday morning. He further notes that if he can't make it, his secretary, Mlle. Juliette should take the funds in his place. Métadier returns and reads the note, and then asks Juliette, who is really Irma Vep, to go to the cinema with him, admitting he is a movie fanatic. 

Métadier ends up going alone to the Gaumont-Palace, and takes a train at midnight back home. On the way home, a group of Vampires enter his compartment, murder him with hat pins, and toss his corpse off the moving train. 

On Monday morning, when Métadier hasn't arrived on time, Juliette readies herself to take the large sum of money. Just as she's being warned to watch for thieves, Métadier shows up to take the cash, leading her to believe she's seen a spectre.

M. Treps sees Métadier exit the bank into a waiting car and follows him in a taxi. Métadier's car makes a quick turn, which briefly eludes Treps' taxi, and the driver stops and opens a manhole, which Métadier climbs down into. Treps' taxi arrives, but Métadier is nowhere to be found. 

Mme. Métadier arrives at the bank looking for her husband, who she hasn't seen for three days. His coworkers call over to the agency and find out they have not seen Métadier or the 300,000 francs. 

Over at The Globe, Philippe receives a note from one of his informants that there are strange happenings at the bank. He shows up at Métadier's office disguised as a worker, and recognizes Irma Vep. When she leaves the room, he asks the coworker who she is, and after learning her alias, looks up her address which is helpfully posted on the wall with all bank personnel. 

Mazamette arrives at her house several hours later, posing as Numa Draguignangue, purveyor of fine wines and champagnes. While the maid is announcing him, he helps Philippe sneak inside, who hides behind a curtain. The maid returns and escorts Numa to the door, and Irma Juliette leaves soon after. Philippe enters her bedroom. 

Irma steps outside and meets Treps, and they return to her home, surprising Philippe, who hears them enter and hides under the bed. She makes a comment about their neighbor having more luck than them, and they ply off the back to the safe to find the body of Métadier stuffed inside, as Philippe peeks around the bed. Irma sees that the envelope with cash is also there, but when they grab it, Philippe pops out and pulls a gun on them. The maid enters and knocks the gun from his hand, and the other two knock him unconscious to the ground, allowing time for all three to escape with the cash.

Philippe comes to, picks up his gun, and finds that he is locked inside the apartment. He uses the phone to call police. He hears Moréno arrive home next door, who is surprised to find the contents of the safe missing. He enters Irma Vep's room through the safe and draws his gun. Philippe also has gun drawn, and he grabs Moréno and takes his gun. 

Moréno explains to Philippe that he did not kill Métadier, but found his body along the train tracks and discovered Renoux-Duval's note about moving 300,00 francs on his body. He got help to bring the corpse back to his apartment, and disguised himself as Métadier. The police arrive and arrest Moréno. 

Mazamette calls Philippe the next day, saying he's keeping an eye out, and that they'll have the Vampires in the end. 

Wow! Killing a poor, old movie fanatic with a hatpin and tossing him off the train is pretty ruthless, but lugging his corpse around for the purpose of impersonating him is truly psychopathic! So the Vampires are not the only game in town. Will there eventually be a gangland feud? Will Philippe have enough room in his column to cover all the organized crime in Paris? 

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