Saturday, January 22, 2022

365 Days: #22 Les Vampires Episode 6: The Eyes that Mesmerize (1916)

I am pleasantly surprised to be enjoying these episodes more than I thought I would. I am wondering if the Vampires will find out that Moréno stole their loot in the last episode, or if they'll discover that Philippe helped him do it. 

#22 Les Vampires Episode 6: The Eyes that Mesmerize

Moréno is checking the newspapers for evidence of Vampire activity, and finds a notice that the Vampires are suspected of assassinating the Notary of Fontainebleau. He calls for his newly hired maid and uses his powerful, hypnotic gaze on her to bring her under his control. 

Philippe and Mazamette are in a theater watching a newsreel of the investigation of the Notary of Fontainebleau's assassination, complete with orchestral accompaniment. Mazamette stands up and calls out the appearance of the Vampires and Irma Vep when they are shown in close-up. The crowd wants him to sit down, but he and Philippe decide to leave the theater. 

American tourists, Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Warner arrive at the Grand Veneur Hotel in Fontainebleau, while Philippe and Mazamette have decided to discreetly travel there by bike early in the morning. As they sit by the side of the road to rest, Mr. Warner gallops by them quickly, which raises their suspicions. 

They climb a hill to observe his movements through binoculars, and see him reach into the brush and then leave. 

They go to the spot and discover a locked case.

Meanwhile, the Grand Vampire is staying at the Grand Veneur Hotel while calling himself the Count de Kerlor. He reads a notice in the paper that the accountant of American millionaire, George Baldwin, ran off to Europe with an actress and $200,000 of his cash, which he offers as a reward to anyone who brings about his arrest. The Count notices that Mrs. Warner seems perturbed to read about the reward offered by George Baldwin, as does her husband when he meets her at the hotel. The Count wonders if these might be the thieves he read about in the paper.

The Warners go to their room and Mrs. Warner tells her fictional husband that she's innocent, but he's the one they want and she could turn him in for $200,000. He pulls a gun on her, but throws it down instead of using it on her. 

Philippe and Mazamette arrive at the hotel and observe Irma Vep driving out of the hotel gates and realize the Vampires are staying there. 

At tea time, the Vampires convince Mr. Warner to submit to some palm reading, and tell him that he has lots of money, but that people are pursuing him. The Count notes that his ring has initials that differ from his own, and the Warners decide it's a good time to leave, which convinces the Grand Vampire that he is the thief in possession of $200,000.

At another hotel, Mazamette and Philippe break open the case to find a lot of cash. Mazamette declares that they are rich, but Philippe shakes his head.

Moréno arrives at the Grand Veneur Hotel in disguise, while the fake Count regales hotel guests with a story from his fabricated history to provide Irma time to go through the Warners' room to find the $200,000. She finds a map that indicates where the treasure is, but as she sneaks out of the room, she is caught from behind by Moréno, and dragged to his room, where he chloroforms her to unconsciousness. 

He removes the body of his hypnotized maid, who is dressed as a Vampire, from a trunk and gives her Irma's mask. He then takes Irma's body and tosses it out the window, where his goons catch it in a tarp below, wrapping her up and putting her in the car.

He helps the mesmerized maid to put on Irma's mask and gives her the map, sending her to the Vampire's room. She gives it to the Grand Vampire Count and returns to Moréno's room. The Count goes into the hall to look for her, but she is gone. He finds the location of the treasure and sends another Vampire to go get the loot while he plans their departure. 

Moréno sees the Vampire leave and goes after her with his maid, who is now wearing a long coat and carrying a satchel. The Vampire hops on a horse and rides out, while Moréno and the maid pursue her in his car. The Vampire ties her horse and checks the map, going to the location where Philippe and Mazamette recovered the case. She finds a note from him, stating that he found a chest filled with banknotes that may be returned to the rightful owner upon proof of ownership.

As the Vampire rides back, one of Moréno's men dashes after her horse and hops on behind her, leading her to where Moréno is waiting. He goes through her bag and finds the note from Philippe and gives it back to her, along with a note he has written stating that he has taken Irma Vep prisoner and will return her for a ransom. 

She goes back and tells the Grand Vampire that Philippe has the loot and Irma is a prisoner. He says Philippe may have already told the police and they need to leave, but they won't forget Irma. 

In the early morning, the police raid the Grand Veneur Hotel, with Philippe and Mazamette in attendance, as they check the guests. They are informed that the Warners are not answering, so the investigating team goes up to their room and finds them inside. 'Mrs. Warner' gives him up to the police, and they arrest 'Mr. Warner'. Mazamette produces the article which states that the $200,000 will be offered as a reward to the person who brings about Raphael Norton's arrest. The police realize that three guests are not accounted for, which Philippe and Mazamette determine are the Vampires. 

Moréno has decided that he's in love with Irma and doesn't want to return her to the Grand Vampire. She appears to be hypnotized by him as she picks up a pen and writes a letter of confession, admitting to participating in the assassination of the notary of Fontainebleau, M. Métadier, Marfa Koutiloff and Doctor Nox. Moréno reads the letter and goes to kiss her, but is interrupted by the Count de Kerlor, who is at the door. Moréno gives Irma a gun and tells her to kill the man who is coming.  

The Count says that he has come for Irma, but Moréno tells him she doesn't want to go and she wants to tell him herself. He goes into the room where Irma is waiting and she immediately shoots him. Moréno is pleased.

Philippe goes to visit Mazamette, who has moved into a luxury suite with his reward money. A group of reporters come to interview him, and he shows off his funeral director's hat, which he keeps under glass as a reminder of his humble origins, and tells reporters that vice may be slow to be punished, but that virtue is always rewarded. 

That was an unexpected ending! Will Irma forget her Vampire origins and wholeheartedly embrace the role of Moréno's moll? Will Moréno have to keep her under his spell? How will he use her confession? Who will be the next Grand Vampire? This is certainly a fun series to watch that has me intrigued to find out more! Great location shots in today's episode, though I'm not sure I understand why The Count's story told to the hotel guests needed to be dramatized. 

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