Directed by Neil Jordan
Written by Anne Rice
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst, and Christian Slater
A vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger.
Have you said your goodbyes to the light?
Oh, how I remember 1994 and seeing this film (repeatedly) at the theater. November 1994 was an amazing year for me, full of new experiences. Not quite like our young vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac (Pitt), but you get my drift.
Have you said your goodbyes to the light?
I’ve heard people describe this as a human film with vampire elements, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lestat de Lioncourt (Cruise) is a monster, the worse kind, and the company he keeps is sometimes better, often times worse, but cut of the same cloth. This is a vampire film that has human elements; the worst and best kind.
Any horror fan alive in 1994 remembers the buzz that surrounded the writings of Anne Rice. My life was that of a death metal guitarist, my band even had a song called The Dark Gift, a nod to the power vampires possessed to create more in their image and power. My life was all down-tuned guitars, dating girls that smoked Cloves, Type O Negative, and a love of Anne Rice’s eloquent, yet brutal vampire novels. I was a product of the times and make no apologies. Rice is panned in horror circles, as many popular mediums are, that takes nothing away from her passionate and intricate universe of Creole and European vampires.1781 was a helluva year to become a vampire.
Rice’s Interview with a Vampire novel, released in 1976 after she sold the literary rights for a paltry $12,000, became one of the best and most romanticized vampire novels of all time. The creativeness and complexity of her characters impressed the horror world like few other books of that era. While “hardcore” horror fans hated the romantic mortal coil Rice so often embraced, the idea of vampires, especially those born human and turned to monsters, was a frequent theme. Vampires keep their memories, their loves, the very qualities that made them human, so how could these preternatural creatures travel any other path? Pick your battles, horror geeks, and remember there is nothing wrong with popular horror as long as it’s good. If Twilight has a polar opposite, it’s this. Well, maybe it’s Necroscope, but until that becomes a film….
Told from Louis’ narrative as he sits across from his interviewer (Slater), his tale opens in the late slave era of New Orleans. We’re introduced to a sorrowful plantation owner who has lost his wife in childbirth. Despite his advantages, his forlorn character gains no reprieve from the pain. Louis invited trouble, in fact, he searches it out. Spending his nights in seedy bars, tempting fate in the back alleys and brothels of Louisiana, Louis eventually meets someone who’s willing to give him what he truly desires: death. For the tender-hearted Louis, death is eternity at the hands of an immortal. Lestat, is an opulent, twisted vampire who’s simply bored in his unlife. Louis is fascinated by his new life in the beginning, but his companionship with Lestat quickly becomes as dead as himself. Pressed to keep Louis at his side, Lestat turns a young girl named, Claudia (Dunst), an unfortunate casualty of Louis’ overwhelming blood lust, in hopes to give Louis a deeper meaning to his life; that of caring for the motherless child.
Rice penned the screenplay, a smart move on the studio’s behalf as a lifeless script would have staked this film. As Louis, Lestat, and Claudia age, they meet others like them, betrayal, true death, and possibly redemption. Director, Neil Jordan, understood these characters well and painted a believable, empathetic backdrop for them to flourish to live and perish. Set against an epic scale in remarkable times, the characters live into contemporary life, each phase of time building upon their character and realism. The characters in this film embody life, define the ages-old desires of our lives, and it does it against a beautiful and monstrous horror backdrop. See this film if you love horror, if you love life; no horror fan should skip Rice’s first four novels in The Vampire Chronicles, but if you must, this is a decent substitute for Interview. A brilliant novel and adaptation for the horror ages. Fuck the popularity haters; if you miss this for that reason, you seem much like a poseur than anyone.