In October, I wrote about the horror of dismantling source material with Interview with the Vampire. The film had its problems, but I’d be hard pressed to say it is unwatchable. Especially when you compare it with another movie in the Vampire Chronicles, Queen of the Damned. The crown for the worst movie I’ve watched this year belongs to the Queen.
So that you never have to subject yourselves to an hour and forty-one minutes of torture, allow me to set the stage. Imagine, if you will, a high school english student forgot that they needed to turn in a screenplay based on the Queen of the Damned book tomorrow and only read half of the sparknotes on it before their iPhone spontaneously combusted (fortunately covered under warranty). They then had to film that screenplay with some of their peers for their final; only one of them was active in theatre and is fairly talented, but the others….Oh! And they decided to have their brother’s Nine Inch Nails cover band do the music. Well, that film might be better.
Before we really dive into the movie, I’d like to preface a few more things: 1. The books are truly entertaining and worth your time. Let nothing from this review impact your degree of potentially reading them for yourself. 2. I enjoy bad movies. I can watch The Room on repeat. To me, it’s the choices made that make a movie good or bad, despite quality. This movie is a test of both endurance and patience, and I failed miserably.
The film picks up where the book, The Vampire Lestat, leaves off…which makes sense if there was ever a movie about that book. Thus we find the paradox that undercuts anything they try to do in this movie, as it expects you to have read the books and then wants you to ignore everything about them besides what they want you to know. So we watch Lestat absorb the qualities of like 5 other characters and do his best impression of what it would look like if Matt Bellamy did a weird impression of what NIN and Korn’s baby would look like. Where are the characters from Interview with the Vampire? Who are these other people? Where are we? You’d have a better chance of getting a decent answer out of the director of Rubber.
We then meet Marius,
No a different one. He’s one of the most important characters in the series and a mentor to Lestat in the books… Here he’s Lestat’s creator and weirdly antagonistic figure…‘til he’s not. You read that right. He is the guardian of the statuefied King and Queen, the first Vampires that cannot die…yet…because.
We also meet one of the main characters, Jesse, who is only kind of important in the books as it introduces some of the lore in greater detail. Here she’s a detective for the british X-Files division, and she really likes Lestat, I guess.
The Queen wakes up because she hears Lestat’s “music.” She kills a bunch of vampires to save Lestat and then wants to take over the world…which is bad…for reasons unknown. So the old vampires decide to kill her with some way they apparently knew about before she woke up that they could have done at anytime before now. But these character just show up at like the last 20 minutes of the movie and are never named ‘til after the climax…and look nothing like they are described in the book. Where were they up until this point? Why were they not mentioned before? No (good) reason.
For a movie called Queen of the Damned, she’s barely in it and the focus is barely on her. She wakes up, goes away, and then shows up when the climax is needed. This movie is a wonderful example as to why I’m excited that I live in the golden age of television. Anne Rice had over a thousand pages to create a world, produce amazing characters, and fill the world with interesting lore and questions. The writers of this movie had 141 pages to fit all that information, and it couldn’t withstand one character asking why at any point. Watch!
- Lestat is back after everything in Interview With the Vampire!
- Why? How?
- He’s going to start a rock band and expose vampire secrets to the world!
- We have to make sure the King and Queen are safe!
- The Queen has a risen
- Why? Does she like Korn? Is Lestat the chosen one?
- She wants to take over the world; we must kill her
- Why? Wouldn’t that contradict the third question?
- We should make a Queen of the Damned movie 8 years later for half the budget, none of the original actors and never do the second book first.
- Why? You know what, here’s 30 mil to never talk to me again
I cannot wait for The Vampire Chronicles to come to a steaming service. The characters are wonderful when they are fleshed out…or even present. The medium will allow for a deeper look into these characters and the lore that made me want to continue the series to begin with. It’s amazing to think how the climax would work (the real one, not the bullshit in the movie) when you actually are invested in the well being of the characters and not just cheering them on so it will finally end.
I apologize that this review doesn’t really delve into exactly why it is awful, but at that point, it would become a spoilerific plot synopsis, which I would be more than happy to do, but I want to give people a chance to enjoy an excellent franchise without possible spoilers from a bad movie. Let us know in the comments if you want me to waste a weekend running this film into the ground.
Queen of the Damned is currently streaming on Netflix.
Written by Eric Brockett
(Eric is a millennial and thus thinks his opinion on the internet matters. Sometimes he has opinions on films too. He thinks people care. He knows they don’t.)