Title: Interview with the Vampire
Dir.: Neil Jordan
Producer(s): David Geffen, Stephen Woolley
Writer(s): Based on the Vampire Chronicles/”Interview with the Vampire” (Anne Rice), screenplay (Anne Rice)
Company: Geffen Film, Warner Bros.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Stephen Rea.
This film is an aesthetically Victorian gothic fantasy come to life.
It is a beautiful looking film.
It also helps that the costuming emphasizes that opinion but nonetheless, Interview with the Vampire is one of the few “vampire” genre films that I can watch over and over and not get tired of it.
To me, the vampire genre is hit or miss. There’s the original Nosferatu from 1922 and eventual 1931’s Dracula (Universal) but then you get into sequels that you don’t need such as Son of Dracula or Daughter of Dracula. I’m “Dracula-d” out. The 70s gave Salem’s Lot, a film directed by Tobe Hooper, based off the book by Stephen King and then here comes the 80s with The Hunger, The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Vamp, Fright Night, Once Bitten, and a few others that are creating this newer vampire culture of more modern, darker, grittier, sometimes just plain brutal.
Interview with the Vampire, in some moments, brutal and modern, has something else to it and that is this overwhelming classical, Gothic, sleeker, put together vibe throughout it. Maybe glossy is a word to describe it as well? But a huge part is the words of Anne Rice (whose Vampire Chronicles novels go above and beyond) and she did write the screenplay as well. Basically nobody knows her characters better than she does and I like that partnership.
I’ve only read a few of the Vampire Chronicles books (The Vampire Armand, Blood and Gold, The Queen of the Damned) and I would love to see more film or even miniseries interpretations of her work.
IWTV has an amazing cast to back everything up. Cruise plays Lestat de Lioncourt and he does an amazing job capturing the manipulation and desperation that Lestat carries throughout the film, most of it is directed towards Louis (Pitt), who… I don’t know if I want to call him lover, confidant, partner, fledgling, soulmate, their relationship is very interesting throughout the film and the books. You also have a very young Kirsten Dunst as Claudia who becomes Louis and Lestat’s “daughter” but I just love Dunst’s portrayal later on in the film when she realizes that she is a woman mentally but physically still as a child and that makes her performance tragic. You feel bad for Claudia.
Rounding out the cast is Slater (Daniel Molloy, a journalist who interviews Louis), Antonio Banderas (another vampire, Armand) and Stephen Rea (Santiago, another vampire who becomes an “enemy” of sorts to Louis).
The script is tight. The acting is great. The costumes are amazing and definitely throws you back to the 18th century, along with setting and the look of the south. We know that the south is very… different than the north, as in the way it looks, feels and Rice herself lives in New Orleans which is present throughout her writing and description.
Frame and scale work throughout the film is beautiful. It makes you feel like you are a part of their world and yet you fear them. It’s open enough in frame that you can see and feel everything versus feeling tight.
I’m thinking about the lighting and the tricking of the eye and wondering if you really saw something in the background.
I’m thinking of Louis awakening from being bitten and exploring the nighttime for the first time and seeing the statue come to life and stare right back at him. I’m thinking of the lighting around their eyes as vampires, the paleness of the skin, surrounded by bold colors of both warm and cool and yet look even cooler (as in tones).
I can’t say the same for the other interpretation of Rice’s work (Queen of the Damned) (which we’ll get to later) which doesn’t have that same kind of look or energy or… umph that IWTV does.
There’s a building tension throughout it that’s missing from QOTD and the tension never goes away, even through the ending of the film, there’s… unresolved tension and resolution.
If you haven’t seen Interview with the Vampire, it’s another film that’s a “must watch”. Especially if you enjoy the whole vampire (or werewolf) genre in horror, it’s a nice breath of fresh air if you can’t get beyond Twilight (ugh).