Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Interview With The Vampire" 1994

“Interview With The Vampire”

I understand the fascination with vampires. It is cool to think of living forever. It would also be great to have the special powers. As a kid I spent more than a few Halloweens as a vampire. I had mastered the phrase, “I’m going to bite yon on zee neck”.

I read Anne Rice’s “Interview With The Vampire” and fell in love with the angst ridden Louis. He was unlike the ruthless vampires I had known before. I read the next few books in the series, but they didn’t have the same impact.

When I heard they were making a movie I was anxious to hear who they would cast as Louis and Lestat. The first name to come out was Tom Cruise. I shrugged but thought he might be able to pull off Louis. Imagine my surprise when I heard he was playing Lestat. I just couldn’t wrap my head around itas my husband has no interest in vampires.

Brad Pitt is excellent as Louis. He is appropriately somber and spends much of the movie abhorring his very existence. Not enough to kill himself. I think he enjoys his misery a little too much for that.

Louis: 1791 was the year it happened. I was 24, younger than you are now. But times were different then, I was a man at that age: the master of a large plantation just south of New Orleans. I had lost my wife in childbirth, and she and the infant had been buried less than half a year. I would have been happy to join them. I couldn't bear the pain of their loss. I longed to be released from it. I wanted to lose it all... my wealth, my estate, my sanity. Most of all, I longed for death. I know that now. I invited it. A release from the pain of living. My invitation was open to anyone. To the whore at my side. To the pimp that followed. But it was a vampire that accepted it.
They become companions, traveling the world. Louis is upset one night, Lestat has been particularly cruel with his dinner, and he wanders the streets of London. There is a great plague and he sees a sad little girl crying over her dead mother. Going against his personal ethics he feeds on her, thinking he doing her a mercy.

But Lestat surprises him later with his new protégé.

Claudia: Where's mama?

Lestat: Mama... mama has gone to heaven, Chérie, like that sweet lady right there. They all go to heaven.
Louis: All but us.
Lestat: Shh. Do you want to frighten our little daughter?
Claudia: I'm not your daughter.
Lestat: Oh, yes, you are. You're mine and Louis' daughter now. You see, Louis was going to leave us, he was going to go away, but now he's not. Now, he's going to stay and make you happy.
Claudia: Louis.
Louis: You fiend.
Lestat: One happy family.

Tom Cruise does a pretty good job as Lestat. Not great. Not what I imagined. But he does seem to be having fun.

Lestat: Have you said your good-byes to the light?
[bites Louis]
Lestat: I've drained you to the point of death. If I leave you here, you die. Or you can be young always, my friend, as we are now, but you must tell me: will you come or no?

They are happy for a while but soon Louis and Claudia decide that they can’t live with Lestat anymore. Like any abuser he won’t let them leave quietly, so Claudia takes matters into her own hands. She is quite the perceptive child. In the book she is younger, only six or so. In the movie they aged her to about twelve. I can understand the change.

Claudia: Locked together in hatred. But I can't hate you Louis. Louis my love, I was mortal till you gave me your immortal kiss. You became my mother, and my father, and so I'm yours forever. But now it's time to end it, Louis. Now it's time to leave him.

Of course Lestat is a bit of a cockroach and proves difficult to kill.

Lestat: Listen Louis. There's life in these old hands still. Not quite Furioso. Moderato? Cantabile, perhaps.
Claudia: How can it be?
Lestat: Ask the alligator. His blood helped. Then on a diet of the blood of snakes, toads, and all the putrid life of the Mississippi. Slowly, Lestat became something like himself again. Claudia... You've been a very, very, naughty little girl.

They do manage to get away. They even find other vampires and Louis meets Armand. He is an ancient vampire played by Antonio Banderas. Of course the Armand of the book was a fourteen year old, so this was different casting.

A lot happens in this movie. It is a good one, really showing the old New Orleans, before the devastation of Katrina. Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst are very good. Tom Cruise and Christian Slater are OK.

It ends with a good shock and a good laugh. I will watch it when I come across it. But the book is better.

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