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:: Queen Of The Damned

We should firstly note that the film is dedicated to the late actress-singer Aaliyah. “Queen Of The Damned” will be classed by most as the sort of film you will either love or hate. Funnily enough, I see it somewhere leaning towards the dislike area. The intricate plotlines of the Anne Rice volumes “The Vampire Lestat” will be seen by keen readers as having been altered, thereby leaving them less excited. There are some good effects throughout the film and the filmmakers, plus lead actor Stuart Townsend (as Lestat) effectively showcase the impulse of the vampire, who wakes to the sound of rock music. Lestat finds the company of human beings irresistible, happily feeding on their existence and killing groupies and strangers. But he adores the fame and adulation in creating a legendary rock figure in himself.

The screenplay by Scott Abbott and Michael Petroni creates some lyrical passages and appealing humour at times. It’s interesting to watch Townsend and Vincent Perez (who plays Marius) in their power play. They work well together. Things turn off when we learn that Lestat’s music annoys other vampires that don’t want humans to think there is more to them than what they are. Indeed, the music also awakens the very first vampire Akasha (Aaliyah) who preys on humans and her own kind alike.

The humans don’t seem a credible threat to these vamps and Akasha doesn’t convince us that she’s a threat to the world, despite the pyrotechnics and amount of blood. Aaliyah is great to look at, but her character hardly comes across as a figure of fear. The film fizzles somewhat, although it remains atmospheric and handsome. It was shot in Melbourne, Australia, which is a fine achievement because the way it sets against the Los Angeles landmarks is impressive. Lestat’s music, with Korn’s Jonathan Davis leading the way, is credible for the film’s premise.

“Queen Of The Damned” won’t ultimately satisfy as the definitive re-working of Anne Rice’s writings, but it may achieve the level of fun if you’re into the style of film.

Screening on general release