originally posted 28 october 2014
The last day of October 2014 is a Friday this year, which will rank it right up there with New Year’s Eve in terms of “amateur hour” when it comes to going out and partying. For those wishing to stay in and have some fun, welcome to the Halloween special pick for 2014 on Blogs ‘N’ Sods.
The Queen of the Damned was the third Anne Rice novel and second supernatural novel of hers made into a feature film. Tragically, the picture was foreshadowed by the truly untimely death of singer Aaliyah, who played the titular character. This was her second feature, after Romeo Must Die.
It did pretty good business opening weekend in 2002, but was much maligned by critics. The thing is, QOTD is far superior to the previous Rice vampire film entry, Interview with a Vampire. Neither stuck completely to the book, but we should be grateful we didn’t have Brad Pitt whining through the entire thing and Tom Cruise trying not to convince everyone he wasn’t totally gay.
The plot in a nutshell: The vampire Lestat becomes a rock star whose music wakes up the queen of all vampires. Lestat (Stuart Townsend) comes off like a Marilyn Manson wanna-be, and he does it very well. It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack was produced and featured some of the biggest goth/metal players of the day. The music is never the focal point, but it moves the film along well at a good pace and gives the plot an anchor.
The real star here is Aaliyah, and I say this not in some teary-eyed hindsight. She totally SMOKES this role. She understood that this is a well produced B-grade horror film, and seems to have not only channeled, but mastered the type of acting that made people like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee famous in films of this type. I could not imagine Beyonce in this role, for example.
The effects were a little second rate even for the time, I will admit that; that just lends this film the type of dramatically overacted, slightly low budget and gothic feel of a classic Hammer Horror film. Let’s face it: Anne Rice is a great writer, but her style will never convincingly be compared to Shelly or Stoker. And that suits the framework of this flick well.
I picked this trailer for a reason: it should give you an idea of the fantastic glam/trash fun and vibe this movie really is. The announcer is priceless: “All she wants is hell on Earth.” And you though your partner was being needy when he asked for a new dishwasher.
For those looking to save some money this year (and spend it on candy for the kids coming to the door), you can find this film for viewing free and legal all over the internet. Finally, someone made a film starring an African-American vampire that makes people forget how truly terrible Blackula was.
Love to you all.
Clip courtesy of Warner Brothers.