Interview with the Vampire; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Night

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Hello and Hallo-welcome to Thirsty for Blood Thursdays, where our brave bloggers will be facing the children of the night (and whatever music they might make). You join your reviewer, Lilly, as she settles down to have a chat with a melancholy member of the undead–what could go wrong?

Today’s film offering: Interview with the Vampire

Lilly: Imagine you’re a reporter, looking for a story, looking for a lead, looking for anything that could make your dismal existence exciting again, to make it worth getting up in the morning. You are out one night, having a drink to make things that much less dull when you stumble upon a man like no other. And is he a man at all, with his pale skin and long nails, eyes shining brightly in the dim streetlights?

Andy: I’m assuming you mean he’s a vampire and not a sex wor…

Lilly: Whoops! Sorry, I think I got some of the film’s melodramatic atmosphere on me. Bit carried away there. And shoo, you aren’t even part of this review! Shoo!

Today’s film, Interview with the Vampire, is one near and dear to my heart. Just as Andy is the resident zombie fan, I’m Hallowfest’s vampire groupie, and this is one of the heavy hitters in the world of vampire cinema. Before we get to talking about the film, I do want to make a quick little note here: while this film does feature vampires and blood and all that fun stuff, I’d be more likely to put it into the gothic category than horror. It’s decadent and romantic and full of death, and that’s pretty much textbook gothic right there.

Interview with the Vampire is the story of Louis Pointe du Lac, a melancholy member of the undead portrayed by the magnificently maned Brad Pitt. It follows his life from the beginning of his life as a vampire, found at the pointy end of the fang of Lestat (or the oddly cast Tom Cruise, who, production lore says, had to stand on boxes to give off the tall, demanding air of the vampire when in the room with the actually tall Pitt). We see him change from a morose human to an even more morose vampire (you apparently don’t only get hotter as a vampire, you get more introspectively sad) as he blunders along, trying to understand the world with the less-than-understanding Lestat as his guide. We learn very early on that Louis’ maker isn’t the best at teaching (it’s a hard job, okay?) and soon, once the honeymoon period wears off, their relationship becomes antagonistic. In an attempt to make Louis happy, and to make him stay at his side, Lestat makes him a little friend. Enter Claudia (or the very teensy Kirsten Dunst).

Now, I keep name dropping because this is a horror film, my gothic labelling aside, that had some big names in it. Christian Slater is the aforementioned reporter! Antonio Banderas even shows up after his success in Philadelphia. Tom Cruise was still bankable, Brad Pitt was wanted–I mean, seriously. That’s impressive for a vampire film. And their performances are not phoned in. Even teensy Kirsten Dunst (who snagged her first kiss from Pitt! From Pitt! Jealous.) is excellent as a child growing up yet staying the same physically, and all the mental angst that causes. There is real weight to every performance that you don’t always get in a film that features vampires. It’s like they know the motivation of the characters beyond ‘be vampires’ or something. And the Ricean vampires are definitely layered, so this cast had a job. And they managed it.

Interview is a great example of a book-to-film adaption, as well. I try to veer away from comparing books to films since they aren’t the same thing, duh, but if one were to read The Vampire Chronicles novels, you’d get the same sort of atmosphere in the novels as you find in this film. It’s decadent, it’s homoerotic, and it treats the story as one not of vampires but of creatures trying to adapt and survive who happen to be vampires. It’s over the top, but then, so is the existence of vampires–it is above and beyond that of a human. The film really captures that with the music, the costuming, the ambience, the Brad Pitt. Plus, you don’t need to know the vampires and their lore well, as the film covers most questions one might have about them (how they die, how they live, etc.) throughout it through the maker/made relationship between Lestat and Louis. I know this because Andy asked the questions to have them answered within five to ten minutes of each film interruption. 

The thing is, I think Interview with the Vampire is more along the lines of films like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil then Twilight or Underworld, where the vampires are less monsters that eat people and more monsters who were people (who now eat people). You hear me?

Andy: No.

Lilly: Oh my gosh, shoo already! Go. Andy will be back later in the month with his opinions on this film, but not. Right. Now.

Andy: Oh.

Lilly: I preach the gospel of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles novels whenever I can, and laud Queen of the Damned (even if it was a messed up jumble of a story that didn’t match the Ricean universe really at all, ssh) and Interview with the Vampire is no different. If you are into vampires, and enjoy a bit of introspection in your walking undead, then do give this film a watch. Also, you get to see so much gasping sex faces as Brad and Tom give and take blood, and can you complain about that?

Andy: Well–

Lilly: Nope! I can’t and this is my review, so there! Go, watch, enjoy!

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