Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
A cult classic that had shamefully passed me by, having only heard more about the ending which has caused debates ever since. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) begins abruptly with an eager journalist Malloy (Christian Slater) who wants to talk to a vampire, set within a modern world that is aware of vampires as creatures more of fiction rather than fact. All this changes when Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) starts to recount his life as a plantation owner, overcome with grief for his wife and child in the mid 1700’s. A shadow of the man he once was, with no purpose in life than to just wander about, ready to die, to be once more with his lost loved ones.
All this is about to be changed when an offer from a creature of the night who has been watching him, makes himself known. One Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) a confident vampire who offers him a life of immortality, a life without death. Pointe du Lac in a state of weakness and grief takes up the dangerous invitation. Allowing for almost homoerotic scenes as Pointe du Lac explores his new form and life as a vampire, enjoying the company of Lioncourt who teaches his new apprentice the ways of the vampire life. A life that Pointe du Lac doesn’t take well to, the idea of taking blood from a fellow-man or woman is unnatural to him, turning instead to animal blood.
His is forced to change his mind when the hunger for blood becomes too much and when Lioncourt brings a young girl Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) into the world of the night, through this child who instinctively wants blood, forces Point du Lac to take up human blood. What was once an unnatural act has to become instinctive and second nature, with a child too feed, he has to feed himself to stay alive.
The three vampires live together for 30 years together before cracks start to show, the signs of immortality become clear to the child who will never grow up, loosing her childlike outlook on the world, struggling to understand fully what she is, resenting those who forced her to live as a vampire. Claudia a woman trapped forever in a child’s body finally breaks, wanting to kill the immortal Lioncourt an act not thought possible towards another vampire. Going up in flames and fed to the creatures of the swamp, leaving father and daughter through circumstance to live on not held back by their overbearing master who took away what made them human and mortal.
Living together they travel Europe in search of other Vampires for almost a century before meeting a head vampire Armand (Antonio Banderas) who leads a cult of blood thirsty creatures. Willing to share his secrets with Point du Lac about his state of life. Before these can be answered their past comes back to haunt them, for Claudia who now wants a mother, repeating history with a woman who desires more the idea of living forever, the existence of feeding of others for eternity. Not something that Point du Lac is easily going to grant.
This is far more than your average horror film, questioning the existence of vampires and they life they choose or not to lead. Having to give up a life of freedoms in return for a death at the end, something most of us either accept or don’t. The consequences of that lifestyle preoccupy Point du Lac for the film who doesn’t resent his friend Lioncourt as much as he regrets the life he has chosen for him in state of weakness. Interview with the Vampire is also a chance to place two of the biggest box-office draws together into what could be a homosexual relationship in the guise of being vampire and apprentice. A relationship which never really works on love more on obligation and circumstance. Bringing a child into this relationship cements the failure that will happen, being thrown back in Lioncourt’s face. He is a predator wanting to hunt in a pack for his prey accustomed to the lifestyle, that we’re shown and throws out some of the old believes, whilst holding to the core ideas of sleeping in a coffin and a fear of natural light, the law of their existence you might.
The ending is as many have discovered left wide-open, has another vampire been born, or was Malloy killed? If he was reborn a vampire did he become Point du Lac or Lioncourt’s apprentice, somehow I believe it would be Lioncourt who would take on that role. Being left open has created something for the audience to really hold onto, the interview is a cautionary tale to not give in to temptation, very Christian at it’s core. Whilst also there’s an acceptance of life choices made, you either embrace it and how, or you die, it’s that simple.
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