Vampire Reviews: Interview with the Vampire
(Organ music) (heavy stereotypical “vampire” accent) Good eeeevening. I am ze Maven of ze Eventide Velcome to Vampire Reviews… (coughing) …Reviews. (theme music) Tonight, we discuss Neil Jordan’s 1994 film “Interview with the Vampire.” Of all the tent poles in vampire cinema, I consider this film to be at the center of the apex of the tent that all vampire films are under. And the reason can be summed up in four of the deepest words ever spoken: It brought sexy back. (Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye) Throughout literary history, vampires have been portrayed countless ways, from ghoulish fiends, to dapper gentlemen, to livacious [vivacious? lascivious?] lesbians to, these days, broody heartthrobs. There’s no denying that our culture is in the midst of an ongoing vampire craze– (valley girl voice) Seriously, vampires are so hot right now– how did we ever get to this point? At first, it wasn’t so bad, but it’s gotten out of control! Well, it never would have reached this level if it had not been for this one film. For better or for worse, we have “Interview with the Vampire” to thank. In the five years preceding this one, we saw more than a dozen vampire films, and two were big ones Like the others, “Dracula” and “Buffy” were all told from the point of view of the humans: the hunters, the victims, the damsel in distress. Vampires were the antagonists, either monsters or rakish fiends. And the movies ended when the vampires were defeated. Any girl-on-vampire action was an expression of victimization or deception on the vampire’s part. And then this came along. (SexyBack by Justin Timberlake) And suddenly, we were shown the world from the vampire’s point of view. The plot of the movie is Louis’ life story as he tells it to an interviewer. He begins his tale with the night he became a vampire, recounts his difficulties with the experiences that follow, and it focuses solely on vampire-on-vampire relationships. Lestat: whining coward of a vampire who prowls the night “Interview” was the first to show us this side of a vampire’s existence, and despite “Dracula” and “Buffy’s” relative success, their reception paled in comparison to “Interview’s”. Seriously, no movie has come along to top “Interview” in popular appeal or box office success until… …Twilight. But without “Interview,” there never would’ve been a Twilight. And “Van Helsing” doesn’t count. Back in the nineties, cinema and television took notes on “Interview’s” success and latched on to the formula (Beautiful by H.I.M.) And the world fell in love with vampire movies. *cha-ching* Think about it: What is the main difference between THIS and THIS? *screaming* That’s right Armand: A vampire with a human soul. Armand (cont.): Immortal, with a mortal’s passion Sound familiar? Angel: The elders conjured the perfect punishment for me. They restored my soul. Angel (cont.): You have no idea what it’s like to have done the things I’ve done…and care. Angel (cont.): I haven’t fed on a living human being since that day. (Upbeat music) And then we have the loveable snarky bad-boy brat Expressing sheer exuberance for his vampiric existence who gets redeemed. Lestat: There’s still life in the old lady yet! Spike: Bitch. Lestat: (laughter) After that, it was only a short step to THIS And THIS. Yes, “Interview with the Vampire” was our gateway drug. I’m not saying that it was the first to ever do it, But as far as mainstream contemporary culture goes, This film is singlehandedly responsible for the shift in popular point of view From vampires as monsters To vampires as desirable (Sinister music) Before, vampires as sex symbols were focused on repression and sin: evil. And giving in to them was to succumb to the evil. (Piano music) Now, they’re eligible boyfriends. And better, wiser, kinder, and gentler people than most humans are. (Edward’s piano music continues) “Interview” gave us the relateable, the conflicted, the emotional, torn-apart-by-their-very-nature It brought the broody, melancholy vampire trope to the main stage. (longing sigh) And I’m not just talking about Louis I mean, he’s so obvious he needs no explanation. (Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?) by Simple Plan) Let’s take a look at…Lestat. (Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven) Yes, Lestat, the face that launched a thousand vampires. (And directly inspired an award-winning RPG franchise!) Lestat is the vampire that sires Louis. He comes out of nowhere one night and offers Louis the chance of a lifetime (death time?) And Louis, in a choice he regrets (kind of…) for 200 years, (…not really…) takes it. Lestat: The dark gift is different for each of us. Lestat serves as his teacher, mentor, and ambiguously gay life partner. At first, Louis suspects that Lestat changed him because he wants a sugar daddy. Lestat: We’re lucky to have such a home. But Lestat, having Louis’ best interests at heart, wants to draw out Louis’ vampire nature. Lestat: Oh-ho yes! And, in his own flamboyant way, teaches Louis the ways of vampire existence. Through song, dance, and pretentiously [mis]quoting Shakespeare at dramatic moments. Lestat: “I cannot give it vital breath again…” Lestat (cont.): “It needs must wither.” I wonder if he shouts “OUT, DAMN SPOT!” Every time he gets a drop of blood on his ruffly white shirt. Maven (as Lestat): “A pox on both your houses!” In a fit of melodramatic emo, Louis runs away to try to escape him. And so Lestat makes the vampire child Claudia to keep Louis with him. Lestat: You are mine and Louis’ daughter now. Having a baby is not a healthy way to save a marriage, folks! Lestat: One happy family. Now, I would like to take a moment to touch briefly on the subject of homoeroticism. (If You Were Gay from Avenue Q) Despite rumors that Tom Cruise insisted that anything that was “too gay” be cut out of the script, There’s no denying that there are elements of it in the film. Louis: Yankees are not to your taste? Aww, Claudia has two daddies! But I’ll tell you right now that vampires in this franchise don’t work that way. Now that is a subject for a whole ‘nother night, But suffice to say for now, they aren’t really a couple. (If You Were Gay from Avenue Q gets louder) But, considering Louis’ in his “I Hate You, Vampire Dad!” phase [see tvtropes], They end up whiling away the years more like fabulous vampire roommates. (longing sigh) I wish I had vampire roommates. (Theme music) Maven: For you, Lindsay. You can pretend it’s wine. Lindsay: It IS wine. Maven: (scoffs) Call El GatoNegro wine! Lindsay: I gotta, I gotta spit this out. (Sad string music) (Sad female vocalizing) There are no main or supporting human characters in Louis’ life story. In fact, there are hardly any human characters in the movie at all. (Various sounds of human characters dying) They don’t count. And in this world of vampire vs. vampire, where morality can only be relative to his own code of survival, Louis’ understanding of evil gradually develops the more he learns the ways of his own kind. First, Lestat is seen as an evil for encouraging Louis’ vampire nature. Lestat: But just remember, life without me would be even more unbearable. (laughter) And he’s right. No crime he commits against Louis is as great as the one Claudia commits when she tries to kill Lestat Suddenly, Lestat doesn’t seem so bad. Louis: I have wronged Lestat; I have hated him for the wrong reasons. Later, Claudia hurts Louis even more when she forces him to make another vampire. Claudia: You give her to me, Louis! Do this before you leave me! Louis: What died in that room was not that woman. Louis (cont.): What has died is the…last breath in me…that was human But even that pales in comparison to what occurs when Louis meets Armand. Ugh. Armand? Seriously? Hang on a second. There. That’s more like it. Well, despite how off the look is, There’s no denying that Antonio Banderas is so sexy And the movie’s marketability gains another 100 sexy bonus points when he appears. Armand is the leader of the coven of vampires Louis and Claudia meet in Paris after they escape Lestat. Armand: Welcome to my home. Louis: So you have the answers… Armand: So you have questions Armand entices Louis with the hope of finding answers to his existential crisis because he hopes Louis Can become the companion he’s been pining for. Louis: Then there is nothing? Armand: Perhaps… (fire crackling) Armand (cont.): Or perhaps (whooshing noise as his hand passes through candle) this is the only real evil left. How does he make that look so sexy? I can’t tell if he’s kind of in pain or amazingly turned on or…both? I have to try that! (Music builds) No! (Music cuts out) Just pain! (Fast, pained breathing) Estelle: It’s time for justice, little one. So, without human antagonists, the climax of Louis’ tragic life story is inflicted on him by his own kind. In the crowning moment of evil, Armand has the theater vampires murder Claudia so that he can have Louis for himself. (Louis and Claudia screaming) (Sad music, Louis sobbing) And even though Louis is a murdering, blood-drinking, supernatural creature of horror, The audience empathizes with his humanity. And our hearts break with his. Louis: The heart that mourns her, her that you burnt to a cinder Armand: Louis, I swear I didn’t– Louis: Ah but I know you did. Louis (cont.): I know. Louis (cont.): You…regret…nothing. Louis (cont.): You, who feels nothing. Now, compared to Armand, Lestat looks like downright bring-home-to-mother material. Lestat: And do what it is in your nature to do. Louis: I’m a spirit of preternatural flesh. Detached. Unchangeable. Empty. Malloy: Empty? Malloy (cont.): That’s it? Oh, right, Christian Slater is in this, too. Now, we all know what’s become of vampires in the seventeen years since this movie. [??? music about being sexy] And with the trans-popularity, the more traditional horror vampires continue to thrive as well. But, no one thing has had as much impact on popular culture’s point of view. Everything that has happened since has been able to ride the high of the delicious monster that this franchise created. Yes, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” was a big, beautiful film, but the story itself always remains a cautionary tale. And though they heightened the sex appeal, Being lectured to about the consequences of giving in to indulgence is never sexy in the end. One of “Interview’s” many themes is about making the most of your existence, Whatever your lot may be, and doing it with style. Malloy: Y-you don’t understand yourself, you’re not empty! Malloy (cont.): What people wouldn’t give to be li– what I wouldn’t give to be like you, to have your power, Malloy (cont.) To be able to have seen the things that you’ve seen in your life! Louis: You haven’t been listening. Malloy: Yes, I have been listening! The story you’ve told me is-is incredible, it’s amazing! Malloy (cont.): You want a companion, you want a link to the outside world, well that’s me. Malloy (cont.): Take me, that’s what I want. I want what you have. I refuse to let it end like this! After watching this movie, who isn’t on Christian Slater’s side here? Yes, audiences wanted more of these beautiful, empathetic, tortured-soul vampires! We wanted to be one with them. We wanted to be part of their world. We wanted to give them hugs! And Hollywood listened and ran with it. And whether we like it or not, that’s exactly what we got. (Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO) (Explosions and crashing sound effects) (Maven screaming) I am the Maven of the Eventide, and the night has become a bittersweet realm. (Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO) (Organ music) Maven: Hey! My ambiance! Lindsay: Hey, Elisa, I need my camera. Maven: I told you, call me Maven when the candles are lit! Lindsay: Are you doing that vampire sh*t again? Maven: (huffs) People need to be educated on these things. Lindsay: You said you were gonna go out and get a job today! Maven: Well, no one’s hiring at night! Lindsay: Ugh, look, you’re a month and a half behind on rent. I cannot keep covering your part, Would you please get a real job?! (Door closing) Lindsay: And I need my camera back! (Door slamming) Maven (on the verge of tears): I’ll be in my coffin! (slams book down) (Gothic music) Maven:…Soon as I can afford one.