(Air Date: Week Of 11/9/94)
I screamed bloody murder when I went to see a revival screening of Larry Cohen's "Q" a few years back. Brian De Palma's "Sisters" had me in such hysterics that I never did work up the nerve to see it all the way through. So when I went to see "Interview With The Vampire", with Mad Professor Mike Marano, I fully expected to claw his arm to shreds. I didn't even claw my own arm to shreds. In fact, the two words that first come to mind when I think of "Interview With The Vampire" are "NOT SCARY!"
The film is Neil Jordan's intelligently directed, elegantly mounted story of Louis De Pointe Du Lac, a vampire who doesn't want to be a vampire. After he loses his wife and daughter he becomes the easy prey of the vampire Lestat. But unlike Lestat, Louis feels no pleasure in taking human life & mostly feeds on small animals to survive. His eternal life changes when he kills a little girl named Claudia and Lestat turns her into a vampire. The three become a kind of family until Claudia, like Louis before her, begins to question her vampire nature. Few directors are as effective at drawing audiences into the atmosphere of a film as director Jordan. But "Interview", even with a written endorsement from its original creator, Anne Rice, lacks the central force that would lure you into its spell.
Tom Cruise, while not outright embarrassing as Lestat, is easily outacted by Brad Pitt, in a heartfelt performance as Louis & the eerily precocious Kirsten Dunst, who is nothing short of amazing as little Claudia. (How is anyone going to accept this crafty bloodsucking minx as Amy March in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" later this year? Christian Slater is his usual glib self in the interviewer role he inherited from the late River Phoenix and Stephen Rea has a nothing part as another vampire named Santiago. As the vampire Armand, Antonio Banderas is all style and very little substance. The same might be said of this first movie entry in "The Vampire Chronicles" saga. I mean, the drawing card in a vampire movie is not the magnificent sets or sumptuous costumes, the period detail or authentic locations, it's the vampire, STUPID. Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr. and John Carradine can rest easily in their coffins. Anyone of them could eat the lightweight Mr. Cruise for a pre-dawn breakfast.
Copyright 1994 Monica Sullivan
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