Jean Aymé

The Vampires: The Ring That Kills (1915, Louis Feuillade)

In The Ring That Kills, Feuillade goes with a gradual build-up and a rather tense finish. There’s no recap of the previous Vampires entry, which gets confusing towards the end, when a supporting character returns.

Feuillade uses that character, played by Marcel Lévesque, as comic relief. He’s just revealed the Vampires evil plan for protagonist Édouard Mathé and things aren’t looking good for him.

Then Lévesque bumbles in and relieves a bunch of the tension for a while.

That scene is the best in the short, which has some other good scenes, but it’s where Feuillade finally takes a breather.

Early in Ring, he introduces Stacia Napierkowska as a dancer (and Mathé’s romantic interest). Mathé, being a dedicated reporter, however, abandons her to pursue the Vampires gang and finds himself in the aforementioned hot water.

It’s a fun short, with Napierkowska’s winged ballet visually stunning if somewhat tepid dramatically.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Written and directed by Louis Feuillade; director of photography, Manichoux; released by Gaumont.

Starring Édouard Mathé (Philippe Guérande), Jean Aymé (Dr. Nox), Stacia Napierkowska (Marfa Koutiloff) and Marcel Lévesque (Oscar Mazamette).


The Vampires: The Severed Head (1915, Louis Feuillade)

I probably should have paid more attention to The Severed Head‘s title. Even when the discussion of a decapitated murder victim came up, the title didn’t register any significance.

Guess what? Director Feuillade gets in a severed head. I didn’t even think the murder case mattered, since most of the short concerns reporter Édouard Mathé visiting an old family friend–played by Jean Aymé–who is selling his home to a wealthy American (Rita Herlor).

Mentioning Feuillade has a severed head in the short doesn’t really give anything away. The big finale involves something else unexpected entirely.

Since there’s no real drama–for a while I thought it was about Mathé messing up Aymé’s home sale–all attention goes to Feuillade’s direction.

He’s competent, though he repeatedly gets establishing shots and emphasis shots backwards.

Feuillade’s more interested in his plot, which complicates itself throughout.

With that emphasis, Head mildly intrigues.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Written and directed by Louis Feuillade; director of photography, Manichoux; released by Gaumont.

Starring Édouard Mathé (Philippe Guérande), Jean Aymé (Dr. Nox), Rita Herlor (Mrs. Simpson), Marcel Lévesque (Oscar Mazamette) and Thelès (The Magistrate).


Scroll to Top