Tuesday, January 25, 2022

365 Days: #25 Les Vampires Episode 9: The Poison Man (1916)

The title of this episode indicates that Venomous (Vénénos in this episode) may be fully in charge of the Vampires, and I expect Mazamette and Philippe will be prime targets.

#25 Les Vampires Episode 9: The Poison Man

Irma Vep assists Vénénos, who is creating a dangerous chemical concoction in his lab. Another Vampire delivers a hidden message, informing them that Philippe is engaged to Jane Brémontier, and goes to see her every day at 115 Rue d'Artois, where she lives with her mother on the second floor. The message further notes that there is an apartment available on the third floor. 

Irma and her co-conspirator arrive in disguise at the Rue d'Artois apartments the following day to rent the vacant apartment. They provide a deposit and plan to move in the following day. 

Philippe whispers sweet nothings to his fiancée as both their moms chaperone at Jane's apartment and work out the details of their ceremony. 

The Vampire posing as Irma Vep's maid invites the Brémontiers' maid in for drinks and learns that Mme. Brémontier is having an engagement dinner catered by Béchamel. The maid hands her the menu, which she forgets to return to her. After she leaves, the Vampire takes it to Irma and shows it to her. 

Vénénos calls Béchamel and cancels the order for the Bremontier's engagement dinner, though he made sure to deliver the meal on time. Jane's mom gifts a bottle of champagne to her manservant, which he brings to the maid to share. Meanwhile, the Vampires set the dinner table. 

The guests are called to dinner just as the maid and servant uncork the bottle of champagne. He takes a drink and suddenly feels unwell, realizing it is poisoned as he falls to the ground. 

The maid runs out to warn the family, just as the champagne is being poured at the dinner table. As Mazamette begins to give a lengthy toast, she runs in and tells them not to drink the champagne because it is poisoned. 

Philippe and Mazamette corner Vénénos, but he throws open the door and turns out the light, leading them to believe he escaped, when he actually remained in the dining room and hid inside a cabinet. Mazamette returns to the dining room and feels his way in the dark. He tries to open the cabinet but is unable and moves on. Philippe also goes to the darkened dining room and believes he's captured the perpetrator in the curtain, but it is actually Mazamette, and in the confusion, Vénénos escapes out of the room and makes his getaway across the rooftops.

Philippe goes in search of place his family will be safe from Vampires as his mom and Mazamette await word from him. A telegram arrives with an encoded message. Mazamette decodes the message which tells them to leave after midnight to avoid attracting attention, and come to the Villa of the Roses near Fontainebleau. 

The Vampires begin their plan of attack as the poison is delivered to Irma Vep in the Rue d'Artois apartment. She puts her ear to the floor, and since she hears no noise, assumes they are asleep. She hears a car arrive and looks out the window to see Philippe's mom and servant at the door, ringing the bell. Irma wonders why they didn't come in quietly. She and her colleague carefully gather up the poison and flimsy gas masks and exit the apartment.

At the door, Irma dons the gas mask and begins to spray the poison inside the car. Mazamette is hiding in a trunk and peeks out to see what she is doing. He grabs her and removes her mask, realizing that Irma Vep is alive. Her partner grabs Mazamette from behind and Irma sprays him in the face with the toxin. The partner carries him away on her back, as Irma hides in the trunk, and dumps him on the sidewalk, alerting passing police that he is drunk and has passed out. They take him away.

At the police station, they discover his identity, and realize he's in trouble. They revive him with smelling salts, but he is incoherent and immediately passes out. 

Philippe goes out at dawn to meet his fiancée and their mothers as their car arrives. His mom tells him that Mazamette is hiding in the trunk. Philippe removes the trunk from the car, but before he can open it, he's called to the telephone. Mazamette is on the line telling him that Irma Vep attacked him. He asks who is in the trunk. 

Irma Vep sneaks out of the trunk, and when Philippe goes back outside to check it, he finds only a hairpin inside. He then realizes that she took off in his car. Irma Vep is hidden in the backseat of Philippe's car, unbeknownst to the driver, and climbs outside of the car to the back where she drops off into the road.  She straightens up her appearance and goes into a restaurant to make a phone call to Vénénos. She tells him she knows where the fiancée is hidden and says to meet her at the Pyramid Hotel in the Forest of Fontainebleau.

Philippe takes his bike to meet Mazamette, and stops at the restaurant, where he sees Irma having a cup of coffee. She lays down in the road to listen for Vénénos' car, but Philippe catches her and binds her with a rope. He hears a car approach and leaves her in the road as he hides behind a tree. It turns out to be Mazamette, and Philippe comes out from hiding. They load her into the car and go to the Pyramid Hotel. 

They see a car approach and gag Irma as they draw their guns and go into the hotel. Vénénos approaches the hotel doors where they wait, but Irma alerts him by honking the horn with the side of her head. He sees that she is tied up and he runs to untie her, then they both hop into Mazamette's car and take off. Philippe and Mazamette see them getting away, and they get into Vénénos' car and chase after them. 

Irma takes the wheel and Vénénos jumps out of the moving car as Irma turns to go in a different direction. Mazamette stops to let Philippe out who is shooting after Vénénos as he runs down the street. He chases him to a bridge where they hop onto the top of a moving train and continue to chase and shoot at one another. Mazamette tries to jump off the bridge onto the train, but some police intervene and prevent him from doing so. Vénénos manages to knock Philippe off the train.

Mazamette is angry at the police for stopping him from helping Philippe and gets arrested after punching one of them in the face. 

Philippe arrives at the station as Mazamette is being charged, pretends to get angry and slaps him in the face. The police have a good laugh and decide to rip up the charges. 

Where does Philippe find time for these whirlwind romances? I wonder if Jane is aware of what happened to his last fiancée. I was expecting that chemical compound Irma was spraying into Mazamette's face to have a more dramatic and permanent reaction. They do want these people dead, don't they? It certainly was an exciting chase sequence at the end. Will the Vampires be able to get away in the next and final episode? Or will Philippe and Mazamette finally vanquish them? Will Philippe and Mazamette survive the Vampire's assassination attempts? I'm not sure what to expect. 

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