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Queen of the Damned

Starring: Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Aaliyah and Vincent Perez
Directed by: Michael Rymer
Rated: R

 

Queen of the Damned is great if you want to see a two-hour Gothic music video. Which I don't. But as far as finding the content ? You know, those picky essentials to a good film like dialog, storyline character development — you're on your own. This adaptation of famous author, Anne Rice, is going to have her legions of fans up in arms and weilding wooden stakes if you ask me.

The story focuses on Anne's pet vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend). We meet him as he releases himself from his self-induced solitary confinement in a lovely tomb for one in New Orleans and decides to take up rock starism. He's a megalomaniac, looks like a relative of Keith Richards, and he digs music so why not a rock star? After all what's sexier than a musician? A musician with an accent . And what's even sexier than that? A vampire musician with a an accent! This combo along with his black on black with black outfits complete with Jim Morrison style low-cut leather pants and his angular poses make him an instant success.

But, alas, Lestat's pumping career does not go unnoticed by his fellow vampires around the globe. Of course it could be because he bills himself as "Lestat the Vampire" and all his chart topping songs have deep dark vampire secrets intermingled within the lyrics. The people, if they even listen to the words, figure he's an act- a cool act- nothing more. The vamp club doesn't care! They're coming for him.

But first, we all go back with Lestat via the use flashback to his baby vampire days. The night he was "turned" by his "father" Marius (Vincent Perez). Their relationship is not explained, like many points in the film, but we get the gist Lestat had no idea this fellow was the walking dead. After a quick dive into Lestat's neck by Marius, Lestat is reborn as a bloodsucker himself.

After about two seconds of anger towards Marius, Lestat was into the new power he had - natch. But, it took him some time to lose his guilt over the taking of his innocent victims' blood.

Left alone in Marius' desolate vampire castle he turns to an instrument (a blatant foreshadow for us to get the whole rock star fantasy gig) to quell his guilt. His violin helps him ease the stress of the feed I suppose. He plays feverishly and powerfully. This manic playing awakens another occupant in Marius' castle of the dead. Someone or something is calling him...

Lestat follows the calling and discovers a hidden tomb with an Egyptian flare hidden in the catacombs, well, cellar of the castle.

It is the tomb of Queen Akasha ( the beautiful singer/actress Aaliyah- who died last winter in a plane crash) and her king.

These two are the original vampires (unexplained) who mock-lived over 4000 years ago. They ruled Egypt with contempt for human's and ate, drank and killed like vampire ticks. Then one day the king grew bored (like the audience with this film) and simply turned to stone. His queen found it mundane killing and drinking alone so she joined him in stone. Here they sit, statues of themselves guarded (?), protected (?) worshipped (?), by Marius. That is until Lestat's powerful aura and musical talent makes the queen call to him. She bleeds from the stone and feeds him her blood...(go ahead giggle if you must- I did)

Marius discovers Lestat drinking from the stoned queen. He waits till Lestat rests and then skadattles-suddenly disappears with the stone queen and king- leaving the newbie vampire Lestat bitter and alone.

Lestat roams the Earth always half searching for Marius and we who read the Rice books know he had a little fun 'tween the centuries…but the film zooms to the present. He's hoping his blatant disregard for vampire secrecy will bring Marius back to him. What he doesn't know is he's again awakened Queen Akasha. She's all horned up and digs her some Lestat. Why him? Who knows. Again we are left without story substance. An annoying and recurring problem in this film.

Meanwhile a Talamasca member ( think Buffy the Vampire Slayer's little click) Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) starts to obsess over Lestat. She's breaking the "watch and observe" only rule. And in one of the worst --of many-- subplots in the movie Lestat, suddenly becomes p***y whipped with the Plain Jane vampire watcher. Snore.

It's not that Jesse's ugly per say, but the clothes they put the character in were certainly not seductive or even stylish. One scene in particular had this chick wearing what one might see a eighty-seven year old one foot in the grave Miami Beach retirement home resident wearing to bingo night. This hiddeous frock was bright red, stitched with yarn, sequined and about two sizes too big for her. Yeccy poo. This was only one of an ensemble that made it look like the film's costume designer got a budget of forty bucks and was told to go wild with it! My point? WHAT would the world's hottest vampire who's also the world's hottest rock star see in her? It's not like they gave her a personality. She was a dullsville frumparoo! And in her K-Mart "Fancy Night At The Elks Club Section" clotheswear I doubt even a dead guy would dig her, let alone want to spend eternity with her.

Oh, but he does. Please, please throw us a bone within all this mish-mosh! They don't and Queen of the Damned just continues to confound you on its way to the plot. And I use that word in its most elementary form.

Stuart Townsend is one sexy guy. Not here, but usually. They had him doing Vampire Lover 101. There wasn't a drop of the rabid Rhesus monkey sex inducing pheromones that Tom Cruise's Lestat from Interview with a Vampire spewed a few years back.

Actually Vincent Perez, who played Marius, was more more seductive and believable as a macho vampire with volleying sexuality.

Aaliyah was eerie as the Queen Akasha. Some of the queen's over-dramatic entrances could have made one laugh aloud if you didn't know the poor girl was gone - so instead it was just sad- reminiscent of watching The Crow. Actually, Aaliyah's role as queen was awfully small considering the name of the damned film!

Bottom line on Queen of the Damned? There's no storyline and the dialog is borderline retarded. Anne Rice fans are going to be beside themselves with this lam-o-rama adaptation that's for sure. The upside? You get an incredible soundtrack with original songs by Jonathan Davis from Korn and Richards Gibbs from Oingo Boingo as well as some offerings from vampirish musician Marilyn Manson, Deftones, Static X, Godhead and Papa Roach. So musically it's Goth meets Techno squared. BUT, who really wants to shell out ten bucks to sit and watch two hours of some guy lip sync? Me neither.

Snack Recommendation:
Clamato and Tequila at home and rent Interview With a Vampire and Dracula w/ Gary Oldman


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