It’s the day before Halloweenie and we like to make some hot cider, generously sprinkled with cinnamon – which is so fragrant and healthy for you – put our feet up and watch or read a good horror story. And by good we mean something with handsome vampires in ruffled shirts. Our go-to is “Interview With a Vampire” (1994), based on Anne Rice’s book of the same name. The flaws of the movie are the flaws of the book and indeed Rice’s whole “Vampire Chronicles” series: They’re over the top, the plots get ridiculous and the stories suffer whenever Lestat, the main character (Tom Cruise, a controversial choice back in the day, in “Interview”; Stuart Townsend in “The Queen of the Damned”) is off the screen or page.
But there’s no question that Rice created in Lestat an American original – someone who despite being forced to become a vampire makes the most of it.
It’s well-known that Rice based “Interview” (1976) on one of her earlier short stories after losing her daughter Michelle to childhood leukemia. (In the novel, the daughter of Lestat and sometime partner Louis (the vampire of the title) is named Claudia, Michelle’s nickname.) Subsequent books in the 1980s became metaphors for the AIDS pandemic.
Years later, Lestat and Louis can be viewed as representing two vastly different attitudes toward life. Louis, who chooses to become a vampire, is encased in his suffering. Whereas Lestat, who never wanted to be a vampire, is the kind of person who says, “I may be suffering, but I’m not going to let it defeat me.”
It’s something to think of while dipping into “The Vampire Chronicles” amid a new pandemic.
– Georgette Gouveia