With all the pop culture focus on Stephanie Meyer’s vampires, it seems that Anne Rice’s far more scary, yet classy vamps have been forgotten, but maybe it is time to dig them back up, so to speak. In 1994, we were treated to a horror epic featuring the talents of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, and a very young Kirsten Dunst. Interestingly, her performance as the perpetual child vampire, Claudia, was one of her best performances, but back to the story.
We meet with Louis de Pointe du Lac (Pitt) in San Francisco sometime in the early 90s. He has arranged to meet with an investigative reporter, Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) to tell him his story from beginning to end, and then takes us to his first life as a mortal man living in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Louis lived as a plantation owner, and is longing for death. He lost both his wife and child, and has nothing to keep him going. The slaves at his house know him to be a fair-minded, good-natured man, and they are uneasy with this depressing thing he has become. He has taken to spending more time on the seedier sides of town at the saloons and brothels, deliberately cheating at cards and other chance game to get a rise out of some thugs, daring them to end his pain. Meanwhile, he is being shadowed by something far more sinister than thieves and cutthroats. That thing is Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise), a vampire from France that has New Orleans his home at this time.
He sees Louis at first as easy pickings, and a simple meal, but as he learns more about Louis, he finds him intriguing, and decides that Louis is worthy to become a higher level of undead, a vampire. This begins a relationship that lasts for nearly a century. At one time, when plague is rampant in New Orleans, they bring Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) over when they discover her hiding after finding her deceased mother. Claudia becomes the thorn in their side, because she starts longing for a more normal, mortal life, that of a normal woman, which she will never be.
We see the trials and tribulations that come with being a vampire, and never knowing sunshine or, for the males, the satisfaction of being able to take a lover in a normal manner ever again. The only thing that can really satisfy these creatures is the drinking of the blood. Live, warm, and human is most satisfying, but they do their best to get by on mammal, and even reptile, which happens when Claudia and Louis attempt to kill Lestat off.
This dark world is drastically different from any other vampire series out there. Mysterious, sensual, desirable, but still frightening and bloody. The movie is a good account of the first book, but it seems to be lacking compared to it. Standing alone, it is very strong, and is a good lead-in to The Queen of the Damned, which would come out about ten years later.
So, if you’ve had it with the sparkling lights of Washington state, head to the South for something far darker with a more colourful past, and learn all about Anne Rice’s vampires in the Interview with a Vampire.
I give this film a Musing review of