Queen of the Damned (2002)
Queen of the Damned is twenty years old this year and somehow I’ve never seen it before.
Essentially a follow on from Interview with the Vampire this quasi-sequel sees vampire Lestat as a current (2002) rock star whose nightlife garners unwanted, bloodthirsty attention.
Stuart Townsend's Lestat is a lot more sympathetic here than in Neil Jordan’s 1994 film, where Tom Cruise oozed creepy selfishness as the vampire. Some might suggest that isn’t acting for Tom Cruise but I couldn’t possibly speculate on that. I’d definitely go for a drink with Tom Cruise. Just in broad daylight- he was very convincing.
There is lots of angsty rock and early 2000s goth/punk outfits in Michael Rymer's Queen of the Damned. If I had seen this in 2002 I would no doubt have been in love with it after about ten minutes. I’d also have been stoned, most likely, which may have helped that emotional engagement. I’d definitely have gone out and bought the soundtrack on CD (Papa Roach, Disturbed, Deftones)- or not have "bought" it from Napster. Ahhh 2002, so much to offer except for my virginity. Or had I lost it by then? Answers on a postcard.
Appropriately the film’s visuals are all very MTV but it fits with the story and setting and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with flashy editing and odd camera angles. However, the English accents are scarier than the vampires: toe-curlingly bad. I was struck by how captivatingly beautiful Aalyiah was- I was never really into her music (and she hadn’t made many films for me to have seen much of her) but damn, she really does hold the gaze.
The film is pretty cheesy and, and if you thought Interview with the Vampire was camp, Queen of the Damned is a Scout leader drunk on Babycham tripping over guy-lines gushing, “I’m super, thanks for asking”, yet somehow also punk rock and a completely unthreatening or scary vampire film. It is also geographically somewhat all over the place, I lost track of where it was supposed to be at various points.
However, I didn’t not enjoy Queen of the Damned; like a double negative it isn't not great, but does its job. Totally imperfect but similarly serviceable.
The effects are dated, but not so badly that it's unwatchable. Funtional fanged fare which makes an interesting if not mind blowing follow up to a great film, I’ve seen far worse than Queen of the Damned. 6/10