i didn’t care much for interview with the vampire, the book nor the movie. even with a director like neil jordon (coming off the classic the crying game) i thought it was thoroughly boring and uneventful though it looks pretty, much the same problem as the other early 90s based-on-popular-literature vampire movie, francis ford coppola’s bram stoker’s dracula.
so i didn’t have any interest in seeing the interview with the vampire follow up queen of the damned…for eternity. with its negative word of mouth and box office and lacking a proven well known director, my expectation is rather low. there’s also the fact that this sequel was made only because warner brothers’ right to the anne rice novels was running out and they rushed to squeeze the film out, which i think is the same way we get the two fantastic four movies from fox and the first captain america movie, not the first avenger but the 1990 albert pyun version. as a result, they used the next two books, the vampire lestat and queen of the damned, for one 101 minute movie.
things actually start off pretty promising. vampire lestat (stuart townsend from the league of extraordinary gentleman/director of battle in seattle instead of tom cruise) decides to wake up because he likes what he hears and becomes a rock star. this prologue seems to be setting up for a goofy vampire movie with some pointed commentary on rock music as an industry, especially during those dark days of late 90s and early 00s. the music world touches are pretty clever and funny.
unfortunately, after the short prologue, we are then introduced to the rigid human character played by marguerite moreau from the mighty ducks movies. she’s a member of a british paranormal studies group. i don’t know if they are also in charge of the harry potter stuff.
the film then sinks further underground with an overlong sequence of the origin of lestat which introduces the character marius, played by vincent perez, who’s making his second appearance on our site this week co-starring in yet another horror sequel in which he doesn’t appear in the first one and also where actors passed away, after the crow 2: city of angels.
this sequence also introduces the akasha character played by aaliyah. but we don’t actually get to see her just yet, just the statue of her. as a title character, she’s actually not in that much of the movie. it’s more of an extended cameo. it coincidentally is similar to seagal in against the dark in that regard.
by the way, this long origin flashback sequence is done with the old standard of moreau’s character reading lestat’s journal, with lestat narrating, so it’s intercut with moreau reading the journal. just so you don’t get confused about who’s reading the journal in the movie universe and who’s reading the journal TO you when you are watching the movie in YOUR universe. it’s almost a public service.
the plot leads and teases with the one (and only) big live (pun?) show that lestat’s band will be playing in death valley, which if you didn’t know, the movie again helpfully educates you by putting the words “death valley, california” on screen. they may have overdone with the special effects for the crowd at the concert. the crowd is so large that instead of being impressed, i was feeling sympathy for those people in the back. and then i was trying to come up with clever puns based on the word nosebleed. you would think it’d be easy since it’s a vampire movie but i didn’t come up with anything. let me know what i didn’t think of in the comment section below.
most of the performances are perfunctory at best. townsend gives out hints of possible fun when he gets to play the rock star but sadly stuck in a vampire plot. aaliyah kind of gives the movie energy when she’s on screen, but is hindered by limited screen time and being at the mercy of the incident-driven screenplay. they overall feels more like plot devices than characters.
one major problem i have with the movie, though it may not be the case with other people, is the decision to hand over the music to korn frontman jonathan davis, including all the songs by lestat’s band. it’s just not my kind of music. if i were a vampire who lives forever, i would probably pick maybe the 60s jazz, 70s woodstock, late 70s punk era to be rich and famous. wouldn’t you rather be john lennon or jimi hendrix or led zepplin or nine inch nails or nirvana or radiohead if you were a vampire?
but that kind of non-ambition is in line with much of the movie. instead of the epic grand scale that the story calls for, queen of the damned feels like an expensive direct to video movie. the climax consists of all the characters standing on a set and take turn talking and biting without any dramatic tension or logic. the queen’s plan of taking over the world looks and feels about as believable as an asylum movie. there’s also an action scene during the death valley (death valley, california) concert that’s on about the same level of asylum movies.
i didn’t exactly love last year’s vampire/rock movie suck, but in retrospect that was a more enjoyable movie. queen of the damned is on the verge of being a goofy so-bad-it’s-good movie during its opening but unfortunately takes itself seriously for the rest of it. but at least it’s better than the twilight movies.
both interview with the vampire and queen of the damned are currently available on netflix instant.