by Dan Angell
When I mentioned to a friend that I had this movie at home, they asked me, “So, what did you think?”
I responded, “Are you kidding, I can’t keep it on the shelf!”
“Why, because you watch it all the time?” he retorted.
“No,” I said, “Because all the other movies keep pushing it off.”
Now, I enjoy bargain-bin bad movies as much as the next guy. You know, the ones that you can find for 3 dollars stuffed haphazardly into the back of a GameStop. They types of movies that stoners sell back to Plan 9 when they need money for that late night cheeseburger. But we all know they suck. Admittedly, every once in a while you find a genuinely entertaining movie, but for the most part, they are generically bad.
However, sometimes I find the best bad movies are ones with Hollywood power behind them. These films that do have commercials, are shown in theaters, and people (especially pale-faced gothic kids named Lucy-fer) are drawn to see. Queen of the Damned is just that kind of movie (It is important to note that the movie came to be at my house because the person who left it here didn’t want it back).
The truly heart-breaking thing is it never had a chance. In my experience, a movie needs at least one of three things to be successful: Special Effects (i.e. Transformers), Sound Track (i.e. Walk the Line), or Writing and Acting (i.e. Pulp Fiction). This is a movie which didn’t have the budget for effects, didn’t have the talent for a good sound track, and didn’t have the writing or acting for a good story, but had a director who tried for all three.
Knowing I am a sucker for a good story, I will save my criticism about that for last. We will start with the effects. If computer-generated fire and slow motion fighting effects count, then this movie is fantastic, but assuming you are like me and are unimpressed with major motion pictures less impressive than what I could do with Circuit City software on my laptop, then the effects in this movie just aren’t up to par.
That being said, let’s move on. Next up, we have the Sound Track. For the sake of argument, I will ignore the fact that most of the songs would sooner have me slitting my wrist then dancing in the club. I just don’t see why these “emo” punks can’t just cheer up. “Oh, I’m a non-conformist as long as I wear black and listen to the exact same music as all the other non-conformists.” Since when is it considered “cool” and “edgy” to be depressed all the time because you don’t think your parents loved you enough, when usually the problem is that you are so damn narcissistic that the love wasn’t enough! My God, just drink a cup of coffee, put on a decent shirt, and perk the hell up!
But I digress. More to the point, explain to me why you would put a singer in the title roll in a movie if you don’t want her to sing. Clearly this is a job for the no-name actor you put as the lead roll because he looked just gay enough to pull off the extremely homo-erotic undertones of this movie, right? I mean, it isn’t like 90% of the audience went to the movie to hear the singer sing, and not sit around and set people on fire while we have to listen to some pale, talent-less asshat!
This brings me, begrudgingly, to the story:
The movie starts by introducing, through an un-engaging monologue, its main character, Lestat. Lestat is a vampire. We come to find out that Lestat, a musician, is tired of his immortality and decides to make things interesting by calling out all of the other vampires in his music (naturally he has a vampire band).
By doing this he catches the attention of a girl, Jesse, who…does…something. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think it’s every made abundantly clear what she does. Either way, she decides to dress up as a vampire and go after Lestat. They meet at a club, Lestat runs away, cue flash-back!
In the flashback, we learn more about Lestat. Apparently he was a regular noble in Britain, who was bitten by an elder vampire named Marius. We they go into a series of extremely homoerotic scenes where these two merrily prance along the beach, biting guys in the necks. Yep, Lestat has a soft spot for girls, so he only goes bites guys. In fact, the only reason he can even play music is because he sucked the blood of a violinist (I shudder to think what might happen had he sucked the blood of a less savory character).
Well, one day, Lestat happens upon a door knob, cleverly hidden beneath a dresser, and followed a star case (complete with pre-lit torches) to a pair of status in a big room. He begins to play his violin, and the female of the pair turns her wrist over, inviting him to suck her blood. He does, and nothing happens. However, when Marius finds out, he chains him up and leaves him to sleep for 300 years.
Anyway, back to the present.
Jesse desperately wants to get to know Lestat, even going so far as trying to seduce him. However, apparently since he’s a vampire, he can’t have sex with a human because…ummm…something bad…may…happen? Actually, once again, we aren’t really sure why, but I’m sure they had a good reason.
She even goes so far as to try to get him to bite her, but he wouldn’t, because he likes her too much. But he still keeps singing and he still keeps trying to summon the other vampires. Apparently, he succeeded. Because the Queen of the Damned (her first appearance in the movie) pops up in the middle of a club, and sets everyone on fire using only her mind.
Lestat can’t be bothered by any of this though. He has a show that night. Turns out, the vampire community decided Lestat needed to die, because they show up, along with Marius and several vampires who don’t want him to die. An epic battle (and by epic battle I mean the eternally damned version of a food fight) breaks out on stage, and rages until the Queen shows up and, once again, sets everyone on fire, after which she grabs Lestat and flies off.
She takes him to a villa where she seduces him and tries to turn him into her “king.” But they aren’t alone, because Marius, Jesse, Jesse’s vampire aunt, and several vampirial meat shields have followed them.
They square off in the courtyard (if you’re a vampire queen and you have a villa you have to have a courtyard). First, she pits Lestat against them, but he won’t fight, especially after she kills Jesse. Then, in a flash it comes! One of the single most anticlimactic fight sequences in the history of cinema.
All of the vampires…walk over…and start sucking her blood. They keep sucking until there isn’t any left and she dies.
The movie is over.
I hope you feel let down.
This movie was clearly only intended for the gothic crowd, who could be satisfied with the fact that the word “vampire” was used, and that would be the end of it. Past that, there isn’t a whole lot of substance. So, in short, if you’d rather morn your pathetic existence than be entertained by a movie, by all means, enjoy. Otherwise…pick something else.