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Interview with the Vampire


In 1994, novelist Anne Rice adapted her own hugely popular horror novel for the screen in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.

For fans of the books series (count me among them back in the day) it was a long awaited movie and a blockbuster hit, not without its controversy.

Brad Pitt stars as Louis, a wealthy plantation owner who has lost all purpose after losing his beloved wife and baby in childbirth. Recklessly seeking death, he finds unwanted assistance in the person of the powerful vampire Lestat, well played by Tom Cruise.

Of course, he doesn't die. He's cursed to live forever. What follows is a terrific story, well told.

Lestat and Louis gather immense wealth and a massive body count in their ageless existence.

When a young girl Claudia (a pre-teen and terrific Kirsten Dunst) joins their unholy circle, a constant power shift begins among the trio.

The last half of the story shifts to France and their encounter with a large group of vampires under the guise of a gothic theatre troupe.

There, they meet Armand, the leader of the undead, played perfectly by a very menacing Antonio Banderas. In addition, they encounter the humorous but lethal Santiago (Stephen Rea).

Christian Slater is very good as a reporter interviewing a modern day Louis in San Francisco as he spins the tale. The framing device works just as well here as it did in Rice's excellent novels.

Malloy (Slater) mirrors our own reactions to the story, with revulsion, terror and a wary respect for the characters building throughout.

Cruise was a hugely controversial choice at the time, with Rice fans bitching loudly he was too short, too young, too TOM to possibly be Lestat. Damned if Cruise doesn't do what he almost always does, exceed expectations and turn in a powerful performance.

The music by Elliot Goldenthal is terrific, probably my favorite of his scores, which tend to sound all the same. He's inspired here and really adds a great accompaniment to the terrific look of the film.

Pitt is strong and the only drawback of Banderas is that he's not in the film more.

Director Neil Jordan was just off the huge surprise hit of "The Crying Game" and brings the same frank sexual tones to Rice's story, but does a great job in not shying away from the bloody violent trail that our leads leave behind them through the years.

Rice paints you into a corner as you watch the story, making you consider what you would do given the curse (gifts?) that Lestat has given Louis. She also makes you feel sorry for Lestat at times, as well as what you would be like given the ultimate power that Lestat carries with him, every waking night.

A big box office hit, it's a shame that major sequels were never released. It was followed in 2002 by "Queen of the Damned" but it was so bad that audiences avoided it in droves and let it sink into obscurity. Maybe some day I'll actually see it, I've never bothered.

It's better to remember this film, a moody, scary and visually perfect replication of the world Rice created on the page. INTERVIEW gets an A.

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