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Posts Tagged ‘queen of the damned

Tale of the Body Thief the Movie, or “Oh God, Please Don’t Let It Be Another Queen of the Damned”

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By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today on Anne Rice’s facebook page, she announced that Imagine Studios have gotten the rights and are developing a Tale of the Body Thief (TOBT) movie based on her book first published in 1992. On her page, Rice said, “Nothing makes Lestat happier than making news! Here’s the Hollywood Reporter story on Imagine optioning Tale of the Body Thief for a motion picture, with more names and details.” While I am excited by the prospect of a new vampire movie based upon one of Anne Rice’s books because I love the intricacies of the vampire world, I am additionally apprehensive as a result of Queen of the Damned (2002) starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, which was awful… just awful… especially when compared to the success of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. However, this movie could see a return to that of the first film with Cruise and Pitt which might be a good thing, but there are somethings that might need to be thought about / changed.

1) The scope of this film will be relatively more focused than that of the book Queen of the Damned (QOTD). While the movie of Queen of the Damned resembled nothing of the book that Anne Rice wrote other than character names… and some chosen events, the book of TOBT takes place with very few characters actually taking part in the full of the action (mainly Lestat, David Talbot and, Raglan James). Moreover, if the adaptation does not lend itself to compression of other novels… whereas in the QOTD, this book and The Vampire Lestat were condensed into one movie that didn’t even reach the two hour mark… please….

2) Whereas QOTD (the book) is filled with intricate subplots and creates a new vampire mythology that the filmmakers didn’t seem to want to deal with and used multiple characters to narrate the complexity of the story (again filmmakers didn’t deal with), TOBT is pretty straightforward in terms of its plot. SPOILERS: Lestat being bogged down with his life… undeadness…. vampiric nature… decides to off himself in the desert,

By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

which doesn’t work considering he gobbled up a lot of Akasha’s blood (making him as powerful as most of the old ones…). So, he gets an offer from Raglan James to switch bodies for a day… Lestat, being the brat prince that he is, cannot resist the chance of being human and agrees. Long story short, James won’t give back Lestat’s body, and Lestat and David must fight for it to get it back. Pretty easy to follow and streamlined…. one would hope that it would not be hard to plot… all I’m saying…

3) Most of the book deals with human Lestat rather than a passel of vampires. In QOTD, a crap ton of vampires appear due to many circumstances surrounding Lestat’s music, the Queen’s rising, and story time / planning session with Maharet. Thus, it would be difficult to get the characters right considering that by Rice’s third book we know a lot of the characters that are cavorting very well… Also, the additional problem of the vampires themselves and the powers they have institute themselves. In TOBT, however, Lestat is a human most of the time, and David is too. Thus, this should be a moot point… yet, I somehow still believe that it can be screwed up… possibly with a flashy action scene on a freeway in California, involving a car chase with human Lestat and Raglan James in Lestat’s body…. Ugh…

4) A new Lestat would be nice. While Tom Cruise does a serviceable job as the evil, non-complex Lestat from the first movie (i.e. Louis’s perspective of him), I don’t know that he could do the truly complex nature of Lestat as a stand alone character very well. Additionally, I hated Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat…. I feel that he did not carry the brat prince charm and the overall charisma of the character (this could be because it was a horribly written movie… “You’re a vampire?” line from the goth / punk / glam band member complete with southern twang comes to mind). Maybe we could see someone bring a little class to the role… also remember too that there have to be two Lestats in this film which complicates it… the one real body Lestat and the displaced body Lestat. This adds another level to the difficulty of casting this film… (God help me if I see Johnny Depp put into one of these roles either… I couldn’t stand to see a quirky Lestat with Goth make-up and weird hair… I just couldn’t…). I think that they should cast someone who is naturally blonde too… that’s just a pet peeve of mine…

5) Well, I haven’t really got a five… I’m not going to lie… if this purported film turns out to be anything like the QOTD movie, I might have to hurt someone… yeah… possibly Ron Howard since Imagine is his production company…

So there you have it, I look at this with much apprehension, but I am also hopeful that Lestat will once again get to live big on the theater screen… Hopefully, this reincarnation of Lestat (whenever the film may be released) will be better than the best that we have at this point. I look forward to the film and to Anne’s new book that will come out later this month.

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Vampires that I Like And I’m not Talking Twilight

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I am an ardent fan of vampire folklore and interesting tales of vampires that spring up now and again. I don’t know why, but since my younger years, I have been fascinated by the sentient undead. I mean sure you have other creatures that some consider undead that are sentient too, but overall, the vampire is the only “undead” creature that has potential for something other than mindless carnage (yes, I’m talking about zombies…they are just mindless killing machines…).

Vampires interest me because they have potential beyond the need to feed on humans for sustenance. They are capable of much more evil or good in some cases. They also don’t have the whole rotting factor that most other undead have (which causes them to have a finite shelf life). Vampires to me have potential within the realm of film and literature that no zombie ever could. However, I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of vampires and zombies. Like I have said many times, I enjoy reading about vampires and watching movies that contain them. Over the course of many books and movies, I have developed many favorites…some for obvious reasons and others for less.

Dracula–As the quintessential  vampire novel of the 19th century, the character of Count Dracula springs to the pages of the book and into our minds as a fully realized, fully evil creature. He is vicious and stands tall in the face of his enemies. Based on the actual historical figure of Vlad Dracul, Dracula’s heartless attitude and demeanour are mirrored by actual fact. Dracul was cruel and heartless. He committed many atrocities and was (and is) revered by his people of Transylvania as a hero. This character can transform into other creatures of the night, has power over people, possesses super strength and heightened abilities, and can go out in the daytime (see Edward wasn’t the first). Dracula is a first-rate vampire who has lived for centuries and continues to thrive until he meets one who is knowledgeable of him. Dracula was the first vampire character that I was introduced to and therefore holds a special place in my heart.

Pandora and Marius– A couple who were born and turned to serve greater purposes: Marius to be a God of the Grove and later protector of the vampire king and queen and Pandora because Marius loved her. Anne Rice in all her glory created these two eccentric characters (well, maybe not eccentric but a little peculiar). Marius is a renaissance man, term man being loosely used, and floats through the Millenia (2 to be exact) protecting the king and queen and by his constant examination of life, art and the people around him. He is intriguing to me because as much as he stays the same throughout the course of his existence he changes to fit in with the time (save his red velvet which never leaves him).

Pandora is also an interesting character. Also a Child of the Millenia (a name given to the vampires in Anne Rice’s universe that are of age one thousand or greater), she is extremely powerful and independent. This is why after 200 years of living together she and Marius part because of a fight. She then goes out to seek what she will of the world, trying to find companionship and love. She never seems to find either and remains eternally lonely as a result. She is quite a vampire as shown in Queen of the Damned. For the most part, she is a proper lady. She looks and acts like a normal person should. However, this is what sets others at ease. At one point, during an orgy of followers of Azim, an Indian vampire and her child, she tears out the throat of a victim draining him and then rips out his heart to gain the last bit of blood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vampire_Chronicles

Anne Rice’s vampires all have interesting personalities and are very different. They are all believable which is why I appreciate and love the characters she creates.

Eric and Pam–In the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries by Charlaine Harris, I also have a male and female vampiric duo that I enjoy. Pam and Eric have got to be the most interesting of the main vampire characters that she creates. Eric is a 1000-year old viking, and Pam is his Victorian English Fledgling. They develop nicely over the course of the books (Eric more so than Pam because he closer to the central character of Sookie). They both have that desire and intrigue that make vampire characters interesting. While the seem to fit in with the time, they both are out of place in their own right. Each is exceedingly beautiful which leads to them being so much more dangerous than some of the other vampires. Along with their banter back and forth and the comedy that comes out of their mouths (especially Pam’s. She has such a dry sense of humor), they seem to be what you would want your “out” vampires to be.

Honorable mentions:

Bill from the Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Compton_(The_Southern_Vampire_Mysteries)

Sophie-Anne Leclerq–Louisiana’s Vampire Queen in Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie-Anne_Leclerq

Armand from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_(The_Vampire_Chronicles)

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lestat_de_Lioncourt

Louis from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Pointe_du_Lac

The Vampire Formerly Known as Lestat

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In the realm of Anne Rice, we all know about the vampire Lestat and his escapades into the supernatural world that is his realm. He has been the consort of the most powerful vampire in the world (Akasha), had an out of body experience, been to heaven and hell, and became a religious vampiric icon. But now, his story has come to a halt, and he lives on through the pages of his books.

While I am sad about Lestat because at the end of Blood Canticle he doesn’t have a lot of resolution, I am even more sad because of the “death” of the other vampire characters contained within the novels. The characters that I hoped Anne would pick up and start writing about again. Characters like Mael, Eric (vampire mentioned in Queen of the Damned), Pandora (I know that she wrote a novel about her but I want more), Gabrielle, Thorne, Louis (after the transformation), and others. I always found her peripheral characters very intriguing (more so than Lestat at times). Yet, now, Anne has said that at this point in time she does not plan to write anymore vampire chronicles…so, we’re left with dangling strings in my eyes. Now, I love and respect Anne because she is one of my all time favorite authors. I love her prose and her choice of words. She paints pictures with them.

The true reason I write this post is because part of me wonders what is going to happen with the ideas of the vampires or other supernatural creatures contained within Anne’s earlier works…will they be forgotten in the grand scheme of novelic time or will they find their rightful place in literary circles?

Personally, I believe that the books are amazing retellings of the vampire folklore that has been prevalent in cultures around the world for many centuries. While Anne does take some liberties with the overarching myth in places, she remains true to the heart of the myth itself. She also humanizes this creatures of darkness that have symbolized rape, disease, famine, and other deep, dark things for years. Her writing has opened the “monster” up and made them seem not as scary; however, by that same token, she has made them even more monstrous. If something that still has human emotions and drives acts like a feral, evil thing, they seem more monstrous. Her vampires make the choice willingly to feed on humans… they don’t lose themselves…

Another thing that interests me about her vampiric ideals is the whole mythology she created of the “red-haired twins” that she created to rationalize her vampires…it is brilliantly thought and written…it makes me almost wish that she would write her own book of myths or folklore. I believe that it would be a brilliant oddity.

While Lestat and the other vampires may never grace new pages of novels again, I still have hope that they will come to life in new forms. As recently as a few years ago, there was a musical that opened based on the books. In which the music wasn’t bad; however, the staging was lack luster at best. There is also talk of new movies coming out to portray the “brat prince” again…(Hopefully, they won’t make another Queen of the Damned movie travesty…because it sucked [no pun intended]). Here’s hoping that Anne Rice’s vampires continue to prosper in the minds of readers around the world. Because if they don’t, vampires like Edward Cullen might…and that would just be sad…

To All the Vampires I’ve Loved Before

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With the increase of vampire related media in an already saturated world, one begins to wonder if the idea of the vampire has been overused. Has the vampire been overdone? This is a question that I constantly ask myself with each new vampire book and movie that appears in the mainstream. Why is this saturation of vampire paraphernalia so astronomical?

I believe that it deals with the appeal of being a vampire. In most modern vampire stories, the characters of the vampires are romanticised to a point that makes them seem like less of what they are. I mean come on people they drink the blood of living, breathing creatures to survive (whether they be animal or human). If you look at the Twilight series, I feel that you get a good representation of this. In the books/movies, you have a vampire “family” trying to be normal. They live in a place with cloud cover (Washington State) to prevent their “sparkling” in the sun (pretty dumb if you ask me) and feed off animals to survive…The Cullen family is seen as a group of “good” vampires because they don’t feed on humans…However, this idea of a “good” vampire is problematic. Stephanie Meyer who wrote the books seems to want to purely humanize the creatures and fails as a result because vampires are as much humans as a chair is a refrigerator. I believe she sacrificed the ideas behind the vampire folklore/mythos to try to create a Romeo and Juliet story between species….and doing so, her story becomes weird. It seems to lose sight of the creatures that vampires are which really irks me.

I like the stance that Anne Rice takes with writing her vampire chronicles. She seems to take the stance that she is writing about a supernatural creature in a real world. She also portrays her characters very well-roundedly by making each of them sympathetic in their own right but keeping us aware all the time that these are creatures that are monsters…they are not human and thereby are not bound by the rules that humanity sets. Anne wonderfully develops her characters and sets them into actual places…she also seems to have a great deal of respect for the folkloric creature the vampire is (instead of flippantly using them).

Charlaine Harris also does this same thing (to a lesser degree but still intriguingly so) in her Sookie Stackhouse novels. Harris creates a world where vampires and other supernatural creatures exist side by side. She develops nuances and continually keeps up with her mythology that she creates which keeps the coherent flow of her novels (given that in later books things do get a little crazy when fairies, werewolves, witches and other supernaturals come into play).

I think my main point that I have been rambling on about is this: vampires (while they may be visually appealing creatures) are not beautiful creatures to be admired or admonished. Meyer and others have set them up to almost be angels in their own right. In my opinion, this glazing over of their true nature isn’t being true to the original concept of vampirism. I like the models of Rice and Harris better because they allow us to see these vampires as beautiful creatures, but through scenes of violence and heartlessness, they allow us to see the true creature at heart. Afterall, who says that you can’t have sympathy for the devil?