Sunday, January 23, 2022

365 Days: #23 Les Vampires Episode 7: Satanas (1916)

 Who will lead the Vampires now that Irma Vep has shot the Grand Vampire?

#23 Les Vampires Episode 7: Satanas

The body of the Grand Vampire is in a trunk at Moréno's mansion. Irma knocks the lid closed and Moréno kisses her. 

Someone rings the bell and Moréno sends his servant to answer it. The man at the door has a sharp object bound to his hand that he conceals inside his glove. He barges in past Moréno's servant and faces off with Moréno, while greeting Irma. He taps the trunk and says, "Poor Count de Kerlor." Moréno says he knows too much to live and the man slaps him on the back with the sharp object. Moréno becomes paralyzed, and the man informs Irma that it will pass in five minutes. 

He explains that he is Satanas, the true Grand Master of the Vampires, and that the man posing as Count de Kerlor was just an underling. He hands Irma his card, identifying him as stockholder, Claude Dupont-Verdier, and leaves.

Moréno is incensed and tears up Claude's calling card. He has his servants remove the corpse in the trunk, embraces Irma, and leaves. 

Moréno's servants dump the body of the pseudo Count over a bridge into the river.

Meanwhile, Mazamette is living the high life at the Joyeux Cagibi, which is a regular meeting place for Moréno's gang, with a babe at each elbow.

Moréno arrives with Irma dressed to the nines, and one of his lackeys tells him that Mazamette is there. He orders his goons to search Mazamette's rooms to find any information on the Vampires.

While dining, a man hands a note to Moréno from Satanas, informing him that, since he has refused to submit, he will see a demonstration of his power at 2 am, adding that it is useless to try and escape. 

Just before 2 am, Satanas rolls out a cannon in his home, as servants load it. At the appointed hour, he fires it into the cabaret. He and his servants quickly conceal the artillery. 

Philippe goes to Mazamette's apartment, but finds only his servant, who informs him that he is out gallivanting. Philippe hides behind a curtain just before Mazamette drunkenly enters with his lady friends and another man. The man searches his cupboards under the pretense of looking for booze, and then asks for a smoke. Mazamette indicates where his cigars are kept, and as the man holds out the cigar box to Mazamette to offer him one, he pulls a gun out of it and points it at the trio. One of the ladies flips the light with her elbow and they escape. 

Mazamette notices feet sticking out from under the curtain and shoots at the curtain. Fortunately, Philippe was crouched down low and avoided a bullet to the brain-pan. 

Moréno and Irma visit Satanas at his home to submit to him. He says they will achieve great things together, and shows them an announcement in the paper telling of the arrival of American billionaire, George Baldwin, in Paris. They make plans to get his signature.

As George Baldwin has a weakness for charming Parisian women, Moréno calls on his associate, Fleur-de-Lys, to help with the caper.

Fleur-de-Lys goes to the Park Hotel where she poses as Henriette de Granville of "Modern Woman" magazine. She meets with George Baldwin, saying that her magazine publishes the autograph of a celebrity each month. He agrees to provide it, and signs the book she hands him.

Irma waits to see George Baldwin, posing as Marie Boissier of the Universal Phonograph Company. She explains that they record voices of visitors to Paris and share them with clientele. He gladly supplies a recording.

Fleur-de-Lys brings Moréno Baldwin's signature, which he uses to craft a note to the bank to pay 100,000 to Fleur-de-Lys.

Telephone operator at the Park Hotel, Lucie Machet, is grabbed by Moréno's men on her way to work and shoved into their car. Irma goes to the hotel, posing as her cousin, with a note from Lucie stating that she is sick and is sending her cousin as her replacement. The manager agrees, and she takes her place behind the desk. One of Moréno's men brings her George Baldwin's voice recording and she stashes it under the desk.

Fleur-de-Lys goes to the bank to cash the phony check and is asked to wait while the bank manager verifies the funds. He calls the hotel where Irma plays the voice recording of George Baldwin. She then takes the equipment and leaves the hotel. 

Fleur-de-Lys is receiving the 100,000 dollar payment when Mazamette enters to do busines at the bank. He recognizes her as his dining partner at the Joyeux Cagibi and gets suspicious. He ties a handkerchief around his head as though he suffers a toothache to conceal himself, and then follows her out, where he watches as she hands off the cash to Moréno in a taxi. He follows her to her dwelling and pays her landlord a hundred sous to obtain his loyalty. 

Moréno arrives at Satanas' home with the cash and hands it over. Satanas tells him the cash is for him and hands it back. 

Mazamette goes to Philippe and fills him in on what's happened. They go to the home of Fleur-de-Lys. Philippe ties her to the chair with his scarf and shows her his card, but she refuses to talk. They both point guns at her, but she still refuses to speak. 

Philippe tells her to call Moréno and he'll leave her alone, but if she doesn't, he'll have her arrested. She agrees to call, and tells Moréno to come to her home, as there have been serious developments. Mazamette pulls out the phone cord and they wait for Moréno.

When Irma Vep and Moréno arrive, they fall through a trap door at the entrance and are caught in a sack by police. Irma cuts her way out, but they are surrounded by the police, who gather them up and carry them away, to the amusement of Philippe and Mazamette. 

There's a new boss in town who is pretty badass to be firing a cannon from his home. I wonder if he'll be using that to blow a hole through the jail cell where Moréno and Irma Vep will be housed, because it seems unlikely they will stay in jail long with three more episodes to go, and they will probably want to get back at Philippe and Mazamette for sending them up. I wonder if Irma is still under Moréno's hypnotic spell, of if she's all in for him now.

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