It’s Halloween! And what better way to celebrate the day the ghosts and ghouls come out to play, than by watching our favorite creepy Tom Cruise movie, Interview With the Vampire? Join us for a look at another excellent movie adaptation of a popular book from the Tom Cruise collection!
Smartass Summary: Tom Cruise dresses like Louis XIV.
Slightly less smartass summary: The one about Stockholm Syndrome.
Ok ok, REAL summary: A guy loses his family, but then gets another, much weirder one, 50% of which he kinda hates. Or maybe kinda loves a lot, he’s not really sure…
Buttered Popcorn loves this movie! It’s thoughtful and frightening (though more on an intellectual level than a jump-scare or even a gory-scare level). And it’s a book adaptation that makes major changes, but still manages to keep the spirit (and many great details) of the book intact. Who doesn’t love something like that? Naturally, you don’t have to have read the book in order to enjoy the movie, but if you want loads more information on the three primary characters of the film, you’ll definitely want to read the first book, Interview With the Vampire. And if you want even more great info about Tom Cruise’s character, check out The Vampire Lestat as well.
Haven’t seen this movie recently? Fix that, STAT! Click the image below for more information.
Now, let’s get bloody!
***Spoilers beyond this point!***
How many fun moments could you possibly have in a movie about a vampire who has basically lost the will to live (twice)? You’d be surprised. Even though the movie focuses on some serious themes, there are some pretty hilarious moments included as well.
“Oh, SHUT UP, Louis!” Possibly the most famous gif on the Internet from this movie is Lestat storming through a burning house, yelling at Louis to “Shut up!!” Lestat’s unending frustration with Louis is one of the funniest parts of the movie. He’s drawn to Louis, but at the same time, he can’t stand Louis’ pathos (even though Lestat has met Louis after the latter has lost his wife in childbirth, and the child has died as well). Lestat also can’t stand Louis’ refusal to embrace the creature he has become. This makes for poignant moments between them, but also for some funny ones. The fire scene can be thought of both ways.
“What have I told you?” The trials and tribulations of raising a vampire child can be pretty terrifying – especially when she’s lived 30+ years, but is still stuck in a child’s body and starting to get a bit pissed off about her situation. But it can be pretty damned hilarious, too! One fun scene occurs after Claudia has made a meal out of her piano teacher. The frustrated Lestat reigns in his temper and asks Claudia, in much the same tone as if she has tracked mud onto the carpet, “What have I told you?” And, looking innocent and so full of coy remorse, she replies, “Never in the house…” There’s murder, there’s added danger because they now have to deal with a dead body without getting caught, but it’s just SUCH a funny scene! And we get a bonus, if morbid, laugh when the resigned Lestat instructs Claudia to shove the teacher off the bench, and continues with the piano lesson himself.
Cool things about this movie:
We love how the characters look in this movie, and how their story is woven into the historical framework through wardrobe changes. The wardrobe is fantastic, especially before Louis and Claudia leave the “colonies” and go back to the old world. We love Lestat’s elaborate embroidery and lace, and Louis’ more subdued, but still very fine and well-tailored outfits. And the long hair? PERFECTION. Claudia’s doll-like dresses are lovely, and when she and Louis move to Europe, the small-sized “adult” gowns she wears are even more fantastic.
As with Claudia’s transition to adulthood, the wardrobe of all the characters helps us to identify significant changes in their lives. Louis is often dropping his coat, and lounging in a shirt and pants only when he feels depressed – as in the scene when he’s trying to get away from Lestat, and from his knowledge that only when he kills can he find peace. Lestat wants to live comfortably, and his wardrobe absolutely shows it. He dresses in the finest clothes, and that only changes after he is betrayed by Claudia and has to struggle for survival. And of course, when Louis has moved into the 20th century, he wears clothes that fit the time – his giant late-’80’s suit is completely appropriate, even though it tends to make us smile a little.
Complex family relationship:
The primary relationships in the film are complex, and it’s fascinating to watch them unfold. We’re invited to learn about Louis, and the frame of mind in which Lestat finds him and gives him the “Dark Gift”. They begin a type of partnership, wherein Lestat tries to get the sensitive Louis to accept his nature as a predator, and Louis balks and tries to hold on to his humanity for as long as possible.
Louis finally gives in and feeds on a human child who has been orphaned by the plague, but when Lestat finds him there and laughs at “my philosopher” for finally becoming a predator, Louis runs from the place. In a bid to keep Louis in his life, Lestat brings the child to him and turns her into a vampire, so that he will be “obligated” to stay. This begins their new family unit, with Lestat and Louis raising Claudia together. Both of them lavish attention and affection on the child, who turns out to be as ruthless and as bloodthirsty as Lestat. At times, the quirks in their relationship can be amusing, like when Lestat complains that Claudia is becoming more like Louis every day – a complaint that many a child may have heard from one parent about the other. At other times, there is a morbid twist to their relationship, like when they find that Claudia has kept a rotting corpse in her bed and their frustration boils over into rage. There’s a problem most parents never have to go through.
When Claudia decides that she wants to be free of Lestat and murders him (she thinks), hers and Louis’ relationship seems to become even more complex. He is horrified by what she has done, but he still loves her and wants to protect her (which is why he attempts to kill Lestat again). When they move to the old world, and Claudia exchanges her child-like dresses for the clothes of a grown woman, it becomes clear that their relationship has changed as well.
Though Louis never openly says so, Armand calls them “lovers”, and Louis doesn’t specifically deny it. The subtle (and not-so-subtle) visual cues we receive tell us that when Louis loses Claudia, he has lost a wife and a child all over again.
The Discussion of Predatory Nature vs. Evil:
We love the way the movie plays with the concept of evil vs. being a predator, without actually passing judgment on either opinion. When Louis realizes that he must take human life to survive, he is appalled, and he feels that he is cursed – an evil creature who deserves to be damned to hell. Lestat counters with statements like, “what if there is no hell?” and “Evil is a point of view.” Lestat has fully accepted his new nature as a predator. He doesn’t understand, nor does he approve of Louis’ emotionalism when it comes to eating.
We’re predators, whose all-seeing eyes were meant to give them detachment!
Meanwhile, Louis seems equally frustrated and disgusted by Lestat’s behavior. He is sickened by Lestat’s tendency to play with his victims and draw out their deaths. Later, he accepts the fact that he must kill to live, but he is still horrified by the idea of creating more vampires. He is still operating under the principal that he held when he first began to be disillusioned with Lestat: “Forgive me if I have a lingering respect for life.”
- “Don’t be afraid. I’m going to give you the choice I never had.” – Lestat to Louis
- “Your body is dying. Pay no attention. It happens to us all.” – Lestat to Louis
- “Just remember. Life without me would be even more unbearable.” – Lestat to Louis
- “Evil is a point of view. God kills indiscriminately, and so shall we.” – Lestat to Louis
- “Time can pass quickly for mortals when they’re happy. For us, it was the same.” – Louis
- “Mon Deu. More melancholy nonsense, I swear you grow more like Louis every day. Soon you’ll be eating RATS!” – Lestat to Claudia
- “Lestat. We deserved your vengeance. You gave me the Dark Gift, and I delivered you into the hands of death a second time.” – Louis
- “I haven’t tears enough for what you’ve done to me!” – Claudia to Louis
- “We must be powerful, beautiful and without regret.” – Armand to Louis
- “Still beautiful, Louis. You were always the strong one.” – Lestat to Louis
- “Oh Louis, Louis. Still whining, Louis.” – Lestat
Lestat! Of course! Even though Louis is the narrator, and he is the hero of our tale, we still have a special place in our heart for the charismatic Lestat (and it’s not just because he looks a lot like Tom Cruise). Here’s a few reasons why we love him:
- He’s feisty: Lestat is full of fire and spice! He loves his life, he embraces who and what he is, and he likes to enjoy the finer things. He’s a connoisseur (yes, we know it’s kinda creepy that it’s of human blood, but… still), and he enjoys his life without having to understand the underlying meaning of it all. (We’re looking at you, Louis).
- He’s soft underneath: Lestat can sometimes seem sweet and gentle, and other times seem completely insolent and uncaring. He does what he wants, he does whatever it takes to keep the people near him who he wants near him, and when he’s angry, he has a very sharp tongue. In fact, his uncaring phases tend to make those around him forget that he really is sensitive. But he has quite the tender side, too. It’s obvious that he loves Louis, and it is equally obvious that he loves Claudia. Lestat and Claudia are both vicious hunters, and even though Claudia likes Louis better, her temperament is much more similar to Lestat’s. We can see him trying to connect with her and being rejected several times – when she notices the Creole woman, when he tries to give her her annual doll, etc. When Claudia is laying her trap for Lestat, after her rage at realizing she will never grow up, she tries to apologize to Lestat. He insults her, and when she says, “Why do you say such things?” it’s clear from his expression that he’s deeply hurt by the tension between them, and he trusts her completely. He’s really squishy inside!
- He’s resilient: He is decades (possibly hundreds of years) older than Louis. We learn from Armand that as the world changes, it is difficult for Vampires to adjust to the rest of the world, but Lestat seems to have done well for himself. It’s only after he’s been set on fire by the man he chose as a companion (after being poisoned and violently drained of blood by the girl he chose for Louis) that he loses the ability to adjust to his surroundings. (And let’s not forget that surviving that ordeal took a lot of staying power.) And even after all that, Lestat doesn’t die as Armand fears he will. He (apparently) follows Louis until he finds an opportunity to feed on human blood again and go back to the old Lestat, whom no one can resist.
Here’s a bunch of pics we liked! We capped them ourselves! Oh, and don’t be alarmed! We haven’t forgotten the Behind the Scenes Trivia. We are now moving trivia to our Tom Cruise Tuesday feature, instead of including it in reviews.
On to the pics!
Watchability level: HIGH!
Buttered Popcorn recommends you watch this movie! It’s powerful, it’s enchanting (in a horrifying kind of way), and it can inspire you to think about the meaning of life, of what’s important, and about the nature of good and evil. And even though the movie is dark (naturally, most of it takes place at night) it still manages to be visually stunning in many ways.
Re-watchability level: HIGH!
This isn’t a mystery, but it does have some surprising shockers – Claudia’s betrayal to name just one. It can be fun to watch again, so that you can see the moment when certain decisions will lead to those chilling moments you know are coming. Also, there’s plenty of philosophy in this film, and there’s lots to “unpack” that you may not catch on first viewing. The clothing, the hair, the amazing sets are all beautiful and worth watching more than once. And if you like the darkness, there’s plenty of blood and excellently creepy zombie-style make-up and death to go around in this great horror flick. And the melodic voice of Brad Pitt (who thought we would have had a chance to say those words??) weaves in and out of the film, drawing you into the story, and reminding you that a modern-day human is listening to this tale. It’s well crafted and the journey, is great to watch again and again.
Final Verdict: Interview with the Vampire is powerful and hauntingly beautiful. Powerful and hauntingly beautiful is good! So! Melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and have yourself a blood-sucking, feels-wrenching, old-world-style good time.