Saturday, December 27, 2014

Movie #291: Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire is a horror movie based on the boring-ass book by Anne Rice (yeah, I said it, what) starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, and Christian Slater.

The movie is framed by the titular interview, in which a young man named Malloy (Slater, though he took over the role after River Phoenix died) interviews a 200-year-old vampire named Louis (Pitt). Louis tells us how he was "born to darkness" in the late 18th century, courtesy of another vampire named Lestat (Cruise).

The central issue of the movie is Louis' refusal to let go of humanity...kind of. That sounds kind of noble, but the truth of the matter is that humanity had, for him, becoming suffering - he'd lost his family and was just wallowing in grief when Lestat found him. Post-Embrace born-to-darkness, he continues doing that, stopping only briefly when Lestat talks him into vampirizing a young girl dying of plague (Dunst, in her film debut). Eventually they attempt to kill Lestat because he's a manipulative fucker, and flee to Europe, where they meet more vampires, all of whom are stuck wallowing the decadence they've known for years.

Their leader, Armand (Banderas at his yummiest) wants to connect to the modern era using Louis as a bridge, but to do that he has his vampires kill Claudia, knowing Louis will kill them in turn. Louis, of course, leaves Armand behind, returns to the US, and continues wallowing.

The movie takes me back, let me tell ya. It came out in 1994, when I was in college, and I had a serious vampire thing going on. It was right when Wraith came out, I was playing a lot of horror games, and I was totally into the whole "shadowy predator of the night" thing.

And I'm finding now, as I'm running Vampire: The Requiem, that I got something out of the genre then that I don't now. I think it might be that I've grown up, and I don't groove on the "oh fuck it, kill them and drink their blood, woe is me I'm a tortured" thing like I used to. But I do enjoy the movie, because I can see those themes in it, and I still like them. There's a freedom from morality and life that Lestat enjoys and Louis can't quite bring himself to experience and Claudia never really understands because she never had a chance to be an adult for real.

I read the book some years after I saw the movie, and it bored the hell out of me. I'm told the books improve with The Vampire Lestat, but I never really had the patience. I will say that I enjoyed this movie, casting including; people flipped out about Cruise being cast as Lestat, but I think he pulled it off nicely. Dunst is really the standout, managing to portray a much older character than she has any right to. And, of course, this was the movie that put Antonio Banderas on my radar, so that alone is worth the price of admission.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch Value: Medium

Next up: Invasion of the Body Snatchers