INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. (1994) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. (1994) BASED ON THE BOOK OF THE SAME NAME BY ANNE RICE. SCREENPLAY BY ANNE RICE.

DIRECTED BY NEIL JORDAN. PRODUCED BY DAVID GEFFEN AND STEVEN WOOLLEY.

STARRING TOM CRUISE, BRAD PITT, CHRISTIAN SLATER, KIRSTEN DUNST, ANTONIO BANDERAS AND STEPHEN REA.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is possibly the most sumptuous, luxurious and gorgeous-looking vampire film ever made, probably because producer David Geffen was able to pour vast amounts of money into it.

Whereas, as we know, a lot of other vampire films have quite low budgets and they have to film in the director’s back garden because it’s a total wilderness and makes a great cemetery when you add a few cardboard gravestones and stuffed ravens to it, caw caw.

And how many independently-made vampire flicks are able to cast Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, the handsomest stars in the universe and probably still the highest-paid Hollywood stars in the world today, as their leading men? Exactly.

I’m halfway through reading Anne Rice’s fabulous book INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: BOOK ONE IN THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES at the moment, so it seemed like an excellent time to re-visit the film, which I hadn’t seen in years. Of course, I should probably have waited to finish the book before I went reminding myself about the ending, but oh well. It’s sexy vampires; who could wait…?

One of the most important things to remember about this film is that Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are bloody big rides in it and always will be, world without end, Amen. I’m not a big fan of Brad Pitt’s films, but I can allow that he has a certain physical and sexual appeal, ahem.

I’ve been in love with Tom Cruise since seeing him in VANILLA SKY in 2002, however. It’s one of my favourite films of all times. I went to see it six or seven weeks in a row back in those days when films stayed in the cinema for longer than five days.

It helped take my mind off an horrific break-up I was going through at the time, and I loved the soundtrack so much that I even contemplated buying two copies of the soundtrack in case anything ever happened to the original. That’s never happened to me before or since. I can’t even imagine that it ever might again.

The second thing to bear in mind is their hair in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, oh my God, their hair! It’s truly lovely. Brad Pitt’s in particular is so thick and swishy and luxuriant and full that it’s enough to make his ex-squeeze Jennifer Aniston, herself famed for her swinging locks, pea-green with envy.

I’m not crazy about Tom Cruise’s blonde-coloured hair in it, but here is a guy who couldn’t be ugly or unattractive if he tried, so it’s all good. I love his million-dollar smile and his instantly recognisable Tom Cruise laugh, too. Oh, who am I kidding? Clearly, I just worship the ground he walks on, full stop.

Okay. Now that we’ve discussed the stuff that really matters, let’s get on with reviewing the movie. I enjoyed it immensely. Brad Pitt’s Louis de Pointe du Lac is a rich young plantation owner, and a man who is tired of life- life in late eighteenth-century New Orleans, that is- after the deaths of his wife and baby in childbirth.

This makes him the perfect victim in the eyes of Lestat de Lioncourt, Tom Cruise’s wildly charismatic vampire, who swoops in opportunistically and turns Louis into a creature of the night like himself.

The two male vampires live together in Louis’ lush plantation and terrorise the slaves with their weird habits, ungodly hours, unbridled womanising and the fact that they don’t eat people food or drink people drinks. They just drink… blood.

Lestat drinks human blood, naturellement, like any normal self-respecting vampire of this or any other era. Louis, however, refuses to chow down on the blood of humans, believing that it’s wrong- well, strictly speaking, it is– and will only kill assorted vermin and poultry (much to Lestat’s amusement) in order to keep himself alive. Ooops, I mean un-dead. Ah, you know what I mean.

Until he meets Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia, that is, a beautiful orphaned ten-year-old child (in the book, she’s only five) whom he is encouraged by Lestat to bring over to the dark side with them.

Why encouraged? Well, because Lestat fears losing Louis as his companion for the eternities to come, as Louis is not as enamoured or, a better word, accepting, of the vampire lifestyle as Lestat is. Louis doesn’t make the best of it and has a sour puss on him virtually the whole way through the movie.

Lestat, therefore, thinks that the arrival of their pretty little ‘daughter’ Claudia into their eccentric little household will help to cement their relationship. Just like an ordinary human woman- or man- might think that a baby will paper over the cracks in her/his marriage. Aw, it’s so sweet, the way that the un-dead think they’re people…

Anyway, this turns out to be, shall we say, not the best idea Lestat’s ever had. Though the three of them rub along perfectly happily together for years (just look at the cute way she cuddles up to Brad Pitt in his coffin), Claudia ultimately resents the way that she had no choice or say in the whole being turned into a vampire thing and she eventually begins to harbour murderous thoughts towards Lestat, the ‘maker’ of both her and poor gormless Louis. It’s okay, though. You can’t kill the un-dead. Or can you…?

Just to add that the European trip reveals a sick decadence even beyond the way in which life in eighteenth-century New Orleans is decadent, and has catastrophic results for all concerned.

I like Antonio Banderas as Armand, with his Cher wig and whispery voice, and Stephen Rea as Santiago is positively cruel and evil and makes Joel Grey as the M.C. in CABARET look like harmless old Uncle Gaybo hosting the Late Late Show. He’s so evil, he gives you the chills.

The functional framing device of the film sees Brad Pitt as Louis telling his story to Christian Slater’s reporter in modern times. He really opens up to the journalist, giving a warts-and-all portrayal of his life since being turned into a vampire by Lestat in 1791.

Kirsten Dunst turns in a phenomenal performance as the pretty, ringleted Claudia, given that she was only about twelve years old at the time of filming. If children are supposed to take after their ‘parents,’ then she embodies a mash-up of the love of knowledge and all things cultural bestowed upon her by her beloved Daddy Louis, undoubtedly her favourite parent, and the cold, detached cruelty and carelessness of human life given her by her Daddy Lestat.

The film has whores and boobies and the plague and cemeteries in it as well. And, while I still prefer my Eastern European vampires and the ‘mitt-Europe’ locations favoured by Hammer horror films, there’s a lot to be said for the vampires of eighteenth-century New Orleans as well, for whom swamps and alligators could prove either a blessing or a curse.

It’s sultry and steamy there. You can feel the heat hanging over the Louisiana Bayou and the call of the night is strong and pulsating, like the initial heartbeat of a healthy victim. Answer it if you dare…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.

THE HUNGER. (1983) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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THE HUNGER. 1983. BASED ON THE BOOK ‘THE HUNGER’ BY WHITLEY STRIEBER. DIRECTED BY TONY SCOTT. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY STEPHEN GOLDBLATT.

STARRING CATHERINE DENEUVE, DAVID BOWIE, CLIFF DE YOUNG, SUSAN SARANDON, BETH EHLERS, DAN HEDAYA, WILLEM DAFOE AND BAUHAUS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

(First published here in 2016.)

I took this film out of the library recently (yes, there are still those of us who do that, like cave-people who’ve never heard of Netflix…!) and the librarian laughed as he checked it out and remarked that the director really had ‘a thing for billowing curtains.’

I had to laugh too. There certainly are a lot of billowing curtains in this visually beautiful and arty erotic vampire film, along with classical music and classical statuary and paintings. The director was definitely trying to create something artistically eye-catching and in this he’s succeeded, but the film’s not without its problems or, indeed, its stern critics.

Despite its being obviously sexy and stylish, film critic Roger Ebert described the film as ‘an agonisingly bad vampire movie.’ That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose, but it’s found itself a cult following amongst the goth subculture so the news isn’t all bad.

Me personally, I love this film and think it’s one of the best non-Dracula vampire movies ever made, along with INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and SALEM’S LOT, based on the internationally bestselling books by Anne Rice and Stephen King respectively.

Now to the plot. Miriam Blaylock, played by well-preserved French actress Catherine BELLE DE JOUR Deneuve, is one hot momma. In one way. In another, she’s a stone-cold bitch who also just so happens to be a vampire. That’s right, she’s an ageless and beautiful vampire who is hundreds, maybe thousands of years old.

She lives in Manhattan in a fantastic old house filled with the aforementioned priceless objets d’art. She doesn’t need to go out to work because she’s as rich as Croesus, although she poses as a teacher of classical music along with her handsome younger husband. By the way, did I forget to mention that this classy lassy with the bottomless bank account is married in the film to the Thin White Duke…?

Yep, her hubby John, an eighteenth-century cellist, is played by musician-actor David Bowie, who sadly passed away earlier this year and- as some people maintain!- unintentionally sparked off a chain of celebrity deaths that had us reeling and railing against the Grim Reaper till midsummer at least. It’s been a bad year for celebrity deaths.

He’s a vampire too like his missus but he’s a very tragic figure in this film. When we come in, he’s unfortunately started to age at the rate of knots, even though Miriam, that lying, manipulative bitch, had promised him eternal life and also eternal youth when they first got together back in the eighteenth century.

She may have been telling porkies about the eternal youth thing, but it seems that she was telling the brutal truth about his living forever, which is extremely bad news for her hubby John who’s now so ancient in his appearance that he makes Grampa Simpson from THE SIMPSONS look young…!

Before long, Miriam is callously locking him away in a coffin in a room at the top of the house where, incidentally, she keeps the rotting corpses of her other lovers. She’s pledged eternal love to all of them but we quickly learn that ‘eternity’ for Miriam can end in a heartbeat the minute she tires of you or you can no longer satisfy her. The corpses are doomed to lie there, awake and aware, for all eternity because she’s too goddamn selfish to let them die. That bitch. I told you guys she was cold…!

Things start to get really gruesome after poor, poor old David Bowie has been put in his ‘forever’ box in a heartbreaking scene that would make you feel very angry with Miriam on behalf of John and the other boxed lovers.

The sexually insatiable but horrifically selfish Miriam then turns her attentions to Dr. Sarah Roberts, the author of a dreary but terribly worthy tome called SLEEP AND LONGEVITY who carries out ageing experiments on monkeys, of all things.

Dr. Roberts, a gerontologist consulted by an agonised David Bowie before his incarceration in Miriam’s attic, is played by a freakishly young-looking Susan Sarandon with a painfully ‘Eighties hairstyle. Poor David Bowie thought that maybe she could slow down or even stop altogether his dreadful ageing process but it was no dice, sadly. Science hasn’t advanced that far yet, if it ever does.

Sarah can’t help being mesmerised by Miriam, who is quite simply the last word in feminine allure. The two have lesbian sex in Miriam’s gaff. (Well, what other kind could they have…?) Yes, you do see boobs; Sarah’s, but not Miriam’s…!

The sex is all very artistically-shot and stylish, and by the end of it, Miriam has co-mingled their respective bloods, in a disgustingly non-consensual act of what we’d today probably refer to as rape, and Sarah is on her way to becoming a fully-fledged vampire.

Sarah gets as sick as a dog as her body comes to terms with its new situation. I love the scene in which Miriam tells her new lover that she’ll sleep for six hours out of every twenty-four and she’ll need to ‘feed’ once a week. Just give the girl the instructive pamphlets entitled SO YOU’RE A VAMPIRE NOW or VAMPIRES 101 or VAMPIRES FOR DUMMIES or even SO YOU’VE RUINED YOUR LIFE and let her figure it all out for herself, lol. 

Sarah becomes so desperate for blood when ‘the hunger,’ as Miriam puts it, is upon her, that she kills her own scientist lover when he comes looking for her at Miriam’s place, and she joins in the gory fun when Miriam rips a young male pick-up limb from limb.

Sarah’s scientist friends are alarmed when they examine her blood medically and discover that her bloodstream has actually been invaded by a foreign, non-human blood strain, which is winning the battle for dominance over Sarah’s own normal blood.

It’s extremely frightening for Sarah (‘What have you done to me…?’), and it’s also almost impossible not to think of the way in which the AIDS virus is transmitted. This was, after all, the time when AIDS was rearing its ugly head for the first time. The passing of the vampire gene resembles the transmission of a blood infection. Christopher Lee never had this issue, lol.

In fact, when I first used to watch the devastatingly handsome and sexually dominant Christopher Lee as Dracula in the HAMMER HORROR films, I wanted nothing more than to be a vampire too.

I’d live with him in his crumbling Transylvanian castle and drink blood from a jewel-encrusted goblet brought to me nightly by my new husband’s naked, full-bosomed handmaidens. It was going to be sweet. This film put me off the idea of being a vampire for good.

All that sweating and being sick and looking as if you’re dying with the ‘flu while your body craves human blood changed my mind about it, along with the decidedly unsavoury sight of Susan Sarandon in her yucky grey sweat-socks sweating buckets through her old grey T-shirt.

I only ever wanted the glamour and the sex with Dracula, anyway, not so much the other stuff. I certainly never wanted to do my own killing, and I’d only ever be pushed about immortality if I had someone decent to share it with. But, when it comes down to it, isn’t that what Miriam wants for herself…?

So anyway, do Miriam and Sarah live happily ever after for all eternity, or is eternity just too long a time even for a vampire…? There’s a neat little twist at the end that I can’t tell you about, but I thought it was a strange ending to an already strange film. Apparently, some members of the cast were disappointed in the ending but some viewers will think it’s only right and proper.

There are some plotholes in the film, which is so painfully ‘Eighties it looks a bit dated now, but the plotholes, I suppose, are of secondary importance compared to the look of the thing. Willem Dafoe makes a brief cameo as a man who wants to use the pay-phone after Susan Sarandon’s finished with it and the violin-playing kid is really, really annoying. ‘Eighties band BAUHAUS make an appearance and the monkey experiments stuff gets quite confusing after a while. I didn’t enjoy that bit too much.

The first half-hour drags a bit and things don’t really get going until David Bowie is locked away in his coffin, but the hour or so after that is required viewing for fans of the vampire genre. Based on the novel by Whitley Strieber, there’s not one mention of the ‘v’ word in the film, however, which is interesting. Watch this if you enjoy vampire flicks. If you can overlook the flaws, it’s a real little cracker, I promise you.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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A veritable lucky dip of horror movie reviews, covering everything from old favourites and iconic titles to obscure and forgotten horror films and cult classics. Do you dare dip YOUR hand into this mystery bag of evil, demonic possession and bone-chilling terror…? You do…? Then on your own head be it… MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OV9EKG6

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor