We also just received the news that Wes Craven is dead, having lost his battle with brain cancer at 76. A master of horror whose creations include Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, he will truly be missed, and while he hasn't been as active in the 2000s as he once was, the genre owes much of its popularity to Craven, and won't be the same without him. We'll see you in our nightmares, Wes.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Interview with the Vampire, directed by Jordan from a screenplay by Anne Rice based on her own book, seems to have been made with sequels in mind if the subtitle "The Vampire Chronicles" is any indication. It kind of got a sequel in Queen of the Damned, but with none of the original cast or crew involved, it was basically shit. Interview, however, is probably one of the best existential movies ever made. It begins with Talbot, (Christian Slater) a collector of stories, inviting a man into his apartment who soon claims to be a vampire -- and provides enough evidence right off the bat that his claims are clearly not to be denied.
Two hundred years ago that man, Louis (Brad Pitt), a colonial aristocrat in New Orleans who finds life unbearably empty and welcomes any opportunity to allow a stranger the chance to murder him, is welcomed to the world of undeath at the hands of the vampire Lestat -- older, wiser, more ruthless and generally a real asshole. He's also the most entertaining thing in the movie, which was doubly surprising because Tom Cruise was the last person anybody (including Anne Rice, who protested his casting) expected to turn in the star performance of the movie. Louis isn't much into the whole killing-people-to-stay-alive thing, and Lestat grows increasingly frustrated with his petulant refusal to accept that he's no longer human, while Louis continues to drink the blood of rats and poodles and his serving staff become suspicious of Louis and have an intense dislike of his "houseguest."
Louis finally burns the mansion to the ground, feeling that he and Lestat deserve to live in squalor. Eventually Lestat figures out a way to bring his pupil to heel when he leaves a young girl named Claudia, orphaned by plague, on the brink of death, leaving Louis no other course of action but to turn her into a vampire. Though Claudia is an eager pupil of Lestat's, ruthless and free of conscience in her own murders, she retains enough of her childish innocence that Louis acts as the angel on her shoulder to Lestat's devil. The three vampires adapt and change throughout the decades, but, as immortals, they also remain the same in many ways, hence Louis' existentialist dilemma. At least he's come to terms with his need for blood to survive, and mellows out in time.
Things fall apart quickly, however, as Lestat and Claudia begin to hate one another, forcing Louis to burn Lestat as he attacks the girl. Fleeing for Paris, Louis and Claudia are in for more trouble when they encounter Armand, a vampire who runs a theater whose players are vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires -- it's complicated.
The movie depicts a dysfunctional family in Louis, Lestat and Claudia, whose personal tensions against each other grow over time, but may not be enough to truly pull them apart when all they really have is each other. They exist apart from the world, stagnant and unable to connect with everything around them that's changing, and some vampires seem to deal with that angst better than others. Louis, at least, seems to take things in stride by the time his interview with Talbot comes around. There's a lot of black humor to it, Tom Cruise is obviously enjoying himself playing a total jerk like Lestat, and Kirsten Dunst's acting debut (at least, in a major role) as Claudia is probably better than anything else she's done since. It's also just lovely to look at, with great costuming work and stunning scenery from the dark bayous and graveyards of New Orleans to the elegant night life of Paris.
Come back in two weeks for a look at Byzantium!
Available On: Netflix.