Do our gothic vampires hold up or is it a suck fest?

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Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire seems to be one of those films that has become vogue to hate. Releasing 22 years ago, I first saw this when I was nine years old! I have seen the film several times over the years, and I have always enjoyed it. What is interesting for me is to watch the film go from being celebrated, to hated, to celebrated again, and so forth. Why some films suddenly become popular to rail against is not always clear to me.

Interview with the Vampire is a different type of horror film. Different in the sense that I don’t find it accurate to define the film as horror. The film is more of a drama with some supernatural elements. Louis’ story is powerful, and the characters he interacts with are performed excellently. Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the sadistic Lestat might be one of his most memorable performances.

The film holds up astonishingly well. The themes of story are as timeless, as are the immortals within. Loss, regret, and shame are powerful human motivators, and most people in the audience will be able to connect on some level.

While the acting is great, there are some odd moments in the film that have made me cringe for a couple decades now. The action sequences in particular seem oddly framed, mixed with overly dramatic music. These scenes lack the narrative heft needed. Where the film shines is the interpersonal conflicts between the vampires.

Perhaps the most tragic element of the story is the extra-textual issues that surround the series. What could have begun a new idea of horror, and an earnest explanation of the monstrous, was instead dropped in favor of romantic-horror. The countless supernatural-romance stories that have come after this are horrible, and are a discredit to the writing of this movie. This is a perfect example of Hollywood focusing on the wrong thing of a narrative to make a franchise out of, and this is truly a shame.

The film is certainly worth viewing, perhaps even more than once. While it is not perfect, the good highly outweighs the bad. The hardest part for current audiences will be separating this from all the garbage it influenced. 9/10

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