Queen of the Damned : This time there are no interviews.

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I read first three book of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles back in the 1980s, and this movie adaptation was far superior to the first movie from the series, but it was more of a melding of the second and third book. Back in the 80s, vampires did not sparkle. Sure they were easy on the eyes, and very charming from a mortal’s POV, but in Rice’s world, it was a whole other world normal people could not be privy to.

In this tale, Lestat (Stuart Townsend) is back in his favourite home town of New Orleans, and the the city has grown up around him while he slept. He woke to hear music, and after quenching his thirst on a wharf drug dealer, he follows the sound and finds it is coming from his old home. A goth punk band has taken up residence in the antebellum house, and Lestat can’t get enough of this new beat. Off the bat, no pun intended, he tells them exactly who and what he is, thus breaking a centuries- old code that vampires around the world are bound to. He is tired of living in shadows, and wants to rule the night, if not with his charms, then through music and technology.

We learn some about Lestat’s personal history, and along with us is a young member of the Order of the Talamasca, a group of scholars that chronicle the histories of vampires and other supernatural creatures. Jesse Reaves (Marguerite Moreau) has been studying Lestat’s music, and finds codes imbedded in the lyrics as his message to dare others like him to come out and let the world know the truth. Jesse is no ordinary scholar. She belongs to a family line that was started indirectly from the creation of the world’s first vampires, the Pharoah Enkil (Peter Olsen) and his queen, Akasha (Aaliyah).

There are flashbacks about Lestat’s history, his initial turning by Marius de Romanus (Vincent Perez) back in the late 1700s, and how he came to meet Akasha through an innocent exploration, and she invited him to drink of the purest vampire blood. Though the flashbacks are a nice bit of view from a historical standpoint, this part of the tale could have been made into a movie of its own, and even though it helped the story along, it really did not give us much insight into the Jesse’s huge family history, and how Akasha came to be.

In Jesse’s studies, she soon finds herself trailing Lestat through his lyrics, and then through his journal, and Lestat is getting a bit tired of this tag-along of a Talamascan. He runs into her outside the Admiral’s Arms, an underground vampire club in London, while she is being hunted by some other vampires. She claims that her maker is Marius, the same sire that created Lestat, but it is well-known in the undead circles that Marius hasn’t been around for quite some time.
This blows her cover, and she tries to escape, only to have her attackers thwarted by a counter-attack by Lestat himself. He wants to know why the Talamasca is tailing him, and finds that Jesse is quite green when it comes to field work, and lets her go, pretty much insulting her by calling her a nerd, and that she needs to let up.

Later on, Akasha wakes up from her underground tomb on that island south of France, and makes her way to the Admiral’s Arms, and states that she is searching for the one who woke her up. The vampires don’t take her seriously, and she lashes out at them, taking down the complex in her wake. Meanwhile, in California, Lestat is preparing for a huge show in which he expects many of his own kind to come and try to destroy him. They do come, amid a sea of gothic mortals dressed in black, silver, and red. When they do come, Marius and Lestat fend them off, but it is Akasha who shows up and carries Lestat off. She intends to make him the new vampire consort, for she is The Queen of the Damned.

While this movie did have its fun times, and its dark times, it was really lacking in some ways, but that is how it seems to go when great books are taken to a film adaptation. The only truly successful series to match up seems to have been the Harry Potter books and movies. It has been nearly twenty years since Anne Rice’s vampires have hit the big screen, and ten years since Lestat came to on his own. Perhaps a reboot might be in order. It can only get better.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★☆☆☆