Queen of the Damned
Love bites. Lestat and Akasha prepare to rule the world
dir Michael Rymer
scr Scott Abbott, Michael Petroni
with Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Paul McGann, Lena Olin, Christian Manon, Claudia Black, Bruce Spence, Matthew Newton, Tiriel Mora, Megan Dorman
release US 22.Feb.02; UK 12.Apr.02
02/Australia 1h41

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
the mother of all vampires Based on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, this is a semi-sequel to Interview With the Vampire, but with Irish actor Townsend in the Tom Cruise role. And the film is much better for it! It's loud, garish, very stupid ... and thoroughly enjoyable rubbish. The vampire Lestat (Townsend) has been sleeping for a hundred years when he's wakened by 21st century goth rock (think Marilyn Manson) and decides it's just his kind of music. Music to wake the undead! So he becomes a worldwide rock sensation called The Vampire Lestat--most people think it's a show bizz joke; while vampires aren't too happy about their cover being blown. So a sort of underworld war erupts, involving vampire hunters (Moreau and McGann) and Lestat's "mentor" (Perez). Then this ungodly racket wakes the mother of all vampires, Queen Akasha (Aaliyah), who decides it's about time for the end of the world as we know it.

Townsend exudes a sexy, creepy presence that makes the entire film thoroughly entertaining, even as it gets more camp by the second. Whizzy camera work, clever effects and cacophonous music help set the tone. And an extended period flashback gives the film the needed injection of gothic eeriness (complete with shrieking violin in lieu of shrieking electric guitar). Meanwhile, Aaliyah is over-the-top in every way--far too arch and maniacal (and a rather embarrassing performance to end her tragically short career). Once she enters the film it's impossible to take it seriously, so we just sit back and enjoy the mayhem. But just when you think it's all getting far too bombastic, the film undercuts itself with subtle, sharp wit. Meanwhile, the quality is rather variable--cinematography and effects are sometimes great, sometimes dodgy. The story wobbles unevenly trying to juggle all its characters, but then brings it together well in the end, which is so utterly and divinely preposterous that the film deserves to live eternally on video where it belongs.
themes, violence, language cert 15 27.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
the mother of all vampires send your review to Shadows... "This movie, although it has some great bits of acting, isn't as nearly as good as I'd hoped. Now don't get me wrong, I love this movie ... but it's not necessarily the movie that I love, but actually Lestat. Townsend truly became the Vampire Lestat. In his movements, his tone of voice, the way he lipsyncs in the fake concert and music videos! I don't really like the trail they gave the vampires when moving fast; I think it makes the movie look too B-quality. However I did enjoy the flight scenes in the sense that they didn't use computer animation. Aaliyah as Akasha was great; her dance was intruiging and so was her accent, she gave the movie the final blast it needed to be somewhere along the lines of what Anne Rice wanted it to be. But I wasn't very pleased with Marguerite's performance. I just don't see how someone as erotic and rebellious as Lestat could fall for a plain-jane human like her. They should've used someone that looks more mysterious and clever. In other words, this movie was excellent because of Stuart and Aaliyah - Vincent Perez did good too - yet horrid because of Margarite and Lestat's bald band member." --Saffy, Miami 30.Jul.03
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall