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Queen Of The Damned is also available
to rent or buy on Region 2 DVD, or video
97 minutes (15) [released 28 October]

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Queen Of The Damned
cast: Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Claudia Black, and Vincent Perez

director: Michael Rymer

121 minutes (R) 2002 16:9
Warner DVD Region 1 rental

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Robin Landry
What can you say about a movie that is so repulsive, from its images blood and gore to its hard-driving music with screaming lyrics that you can't understand, and a storyline so confusing that you can't begin to guess what's going on with the characters you couldn't care less about? At the risk of sounding un-cool, I found the music both jarring and disturbing. Knowing that real musicians wrote the lyrics was more frightening than the vampires themselves. Since I've read all of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, I have to ask, 'what were the makers of this movie thinking?'
   Missing from this blood-fest is the secret of how vampires came to be, which is explained in the book Queen Of The Damned. Also missing is the all too human appeal of Lestat (played originally by Tom Cruise, now played by Stuart Townsend), and a soundtrack that might have drawn the viewer into the movie instead of propelling him or her to the nearest exit. Having rented the widescreen DVD of the movie, I was able to see the deleted scenes of the movie, and it would have made far more sense if these scenes had been left in.
   All through the movie I kept asking myself if the actors had even read the script before signing on. I guess Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Bandaras had gone through the trouble of taking a peek at the script, which is why they all passed on the doing Queen Of The Damned as a continuation of Interview With The Vampire (1994).
   Rice's book, Queen Of The Damned is fascinating. The movie is shallow, confusing and hard to watch. Seeing an actress as young and beautiful and talented as Aaliyah (Romeo Must Die) pulling out hearts and munching on them with blood flowing down her chin is ridiculous. Townsend as Lestat gives a sometimes-compelling performance considering the silly script he had to work with. I'd like to see him in something not dedicated to grossing out its audience. I am assuming that adults made this movie, though it seems to have been made by a bunch of eight-year-olds who took time out from pulling the wings off flies to play with their parents' video camera.
   Just so you know, there is a plot to this movie. Lestat the vampire is awoken by the depraved sounds of our 20th music. He forms a band, howls his way to the top of the charts, breaking every vampire rule there is about keeping quiet, and challenges the other vampires to show themselves. Why Lestat feels compelled to do this is never explained. Soon, the queen mother of all vampires (Aaliyah) is awoken and it appears she doesn't like any of her children except Lestat, whom she has decided will be her new king. At Lestat's rock concert, which is held appropriately in Death Valley, the vampires gather to quiet Lestat. To tell any more would give away the plot. But I will tell you that there is a love story of sorts. Jessie Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) is fascinated with the vampires, seeks out Lestat and they fall in love.
   Falling for a vampire means killing your beloved by chewing a hole in her neck and draining her of blood and then giving her some of yours which will make her one of the un-dead. Sounds very Hallmark to me. This could have been a very good movie if the director would have had some vision. The driving plot of the book is the constant love/hate relationship that goes on between the vampires and the humans they make into vampires in some sort of misguided attempt to stave off the boredom of immortality. Like the humans they once were, vampires are always seeking the one relationship that will give them the will to go on. Who would have thought living forever would be so boring?
   DVD extras: Aaliyah Remembered featurette, two more documentaries, additional and extended scenes, a gag reel, audio commentary, four music videos and more.

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