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Film: Interview with the Vampire
aka: Interviewwiththevampire

"Drink from me and live forever..."

Interview With the Vampire (full title: Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles) is a 1994 film, based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice, the first in her The Vampire Chronicles series. The film was directed by Neil Jordan, and stars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, and Kirsten Dunst. It was a box office hit, generating a little over $100 million in domestic receipts.

The movie's framing story centers on a newspaper reporter named Molloy (played by Christian Slater), interviewing a man named Louis (Brad Pitt) who claims to be a vampire. Molloy is unconvinced of Louis' claim until his subject displays feats of inhuman speed. He agrees to interview Louis, who then relates his previous life as a noble, and subsequent unlife as a vampire, turned by Lestat (Tom Cruise, who many suspected might not be the best choice to play Lestat, but surprised most viewers when his performance turned out to be one of the best in the film - if not the best).

Although Lestat teaches his pupil the ways of vampires and how to hunt mortals for their blood, at first Louis resists his vampire urges, preferring to prey on rats and other animals rather than biting humans, but finally succumbs to his appetites, biting and killing his housemaid. Afterwards, Louis attempts to kill himself by burning down his estate, but Lestat drags him out and they escape to New Orleans, renting an apartment together.

While Louis continues to be wracked with guilt at his own urges, Lestat has embraced his nature, even taunting Louis by turning a young child named Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) into a vampire so Louis will never leave him. Like any great domestic drama, things only get worse from here...

I am going to give you the tropes I never had:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Pardon me, sir, but does anyone know where Armand's seventeen-year-old, red-haired appearance went?
  • Affably Evil: Lestat, at least towards Louis and Claudia.
  • All Part of the Show: The French Théâtre des Vampires kill mortals onstage in front of a human audience, who believe the deaths to be part of the show.
  • Almost Kiss: Between Louis and Armand.
  • And I Must Scream / Tailor-Made Prison: Attempted on Louis by the French vamps; subverted when Armand releases him from the box he was to spend eternity in.
  • Baby Trap: Of sorts. Louis thinks that Lestat's main reason for turning Claudia is to keep him from leaving.
  • Creepy Child: Claudia.
  • Curse That Cures: Twice, coupled with hints of Emergency Transformation. Lestat offers Louis vampirism since it'll cure him of his illness (depression and despair in the film), and later Lestat tempts Louis that he can save Claudia the same way when she was dying of the plague.
  • Diagonal Cut: Louis, with a scythe, to Santiago, making him Half the Man He Used to Be.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Daniel utterly fails to understand the main point that Louis was trying to get across to him when he asks if he can become a vampire. Louis had just spent the night detailing to him how much his un-life sucks, yet Daniel can only see how cool it is to live forever. Louis flips out and leaves the interview when he hears that.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Claudia, doomed to be forever seven or eight, dresses in the best couture that Victorian fashion can provide.
  • Enfante Terrible: Claudia, who becomes a charming and vicious little sociopath after becoming a vampire.
  • Exposition of Immortality: Lestat, Louis and Claudia all move through decades and centuries without aging or changing in the slightest. Interview is, in and of itself, a book of Exposition of Immortality; since it's about a vampire telling a reporter the story of his unlife and all the things and times gone by he remembers living through.
  • Expressive Hair: Claudia's hair becomes curled and doll-like when she is turned into a vampire. Thereafter, whenever she tries to trim it, it grows back the same way.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of the vampire genre.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Claudia and Lestat both have long curly blonde hair, and are both evil to the core.
  • Good Night, Sweet Prince: "May flights of devils wing thee to thy rest!"
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Santiago, courtesy of a scythe-wielding Louis.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Claudia and her miraculously regrowing hair.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Averted with Claudia, who's 5 (or 11) when she becomes a vampire and stays that way.
  • Inherent in the System: The psychological weight of having to drink the blood of the living drives Louis to try to commit suicide. He compromises by feeding off rats, while Lestat stays sane by feeding off "evildoers".
    • In the books, it is also said that the transformation from human to vampire itself has a profound psychological effect on most people (some times to such and extent that it drives them completely mad and/or leads them to destroy themselves shortly after their transformation.)
  • Jerk Ass: Lestat
  • Jump Scare:
    • In the cemetery, Lestat lunging toward Louis and sucking his blood.
    • Later, after Lestat supposedly dies and Louis and Claudia are getting ready to leave Louisiana, Louis goes to answer the door but finds nobody there. Suddenly, a decrepit Lestat attacks him.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: The prostitute was certainly enjoying herself before discovering that Lestat is a messy eater.
  • Kill It with Fire: Louis burns the French vampires and their theatre for killing Claudia.
  • Large Ham: Virtually every single one of Lestat's lines falls under this category, with a few choice contributions from Louis.
    • "For DO. NOT. DOUBT!!! You are a KILLER, Louis!"
      • This is actually a large part of Lestat's character appeal; his longer life-span in the books is often chalked up to the fact that, despite not being as tortured and sympathetic as Louis, he is far more entertaining. At some points in the books he even seems to acknowledge this about himself.
  • Left the Background Music On: Inverted at the end.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Gender-flipped. Lestat making Louis a vampire is all but an outright seduction.
  • Lonely Doll Girl: Claudia has a whole bunch of dolls, which serve well to hide the body of the woman she killed out of envy for her grown-up body.
  • Never Grew Up: Claudia, who is stuck permanently at the physical age of twelve.
    • She is six years old in the original book.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Used by Louis to put the fear of God into Malloy. He explains it as superspeed.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In the film at least, vampires have super strength and speed (so fast that humans cannot even see them move) which increases as they age with no defined limit. They also have other powers like mind-reading and walking on walls, but such abilities vary from vampire to vampire. They can't transform into animals like bats or wolves, but one of them is shown to be able to fly (or at least levitate). They don't spread "the dark gift" purely by biting; they have to mix their blood with the victim, a la Dracula. They stop aging when they are turned, making ancient child vampires possible, and forbidden to create. Their unchanging nature is exemplified when their hair is cut: it immediately grows back to the way it was at the time they were turned. Interestingly, they do cast reflections. All the "traditional" methods of dealing with vampires like wooden stakes through the heart, holy symbols, crosses, holy water, garlic, silver, etc are dismissed by one vampire as "nonsense", implying that they have no vulnerability to them. Sunlight still burns them to a crisp and it is shown that decapitation or bisection will kill them, but it seems that only another vampire has the strength and speed to kill one. Fire will also (eventually) kill them but not always, depending on how quickly they act to put out the flames. They require copious amounts of blood every night to survive, with humans as their largest supply. They can survive on animals, but that diet only keeps them just above starvation. They can only consume "live" blood, coming from victims whose hearts are still beating. Consuming "dead" blood from a corpse will weaken them considerably, if not outright kill them (older vampires like Lestat appear to be strong enough to survive the consumption of dead blood). Vampires in the film are extremely rare and seem to be unable to psychologically endure immortality for long (or adapt quickly enough to the changing world), the oldest one being merely 400 years old.
  • Over Shadowed By Awesome: Louis to Lestat. Even the novels point out that Louis retains more humanity than any other vampire, and that he actually cares, which one could argue that makes his introverted, introspective tale much more compelling than Lestat... who became a rock star.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Claudia wears a few, as well as several other upper class women.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: At one point Lestat scold and berates Claudia for killing a seamstress after she pricked her finger, because now they they will have to find someone else to finish the expensive dress she was making for Claudia. Lestat even asks her to show "a little more practicality."
  • Primal Stance: Before attacking they turn beastly. You rarely see a vampire stroll across the ceiling, hands in his pockets and whistling; they're almost always growling, breathing heavily, and salivating.
  • The Queen's Latin: A variation. Cruise, Dunst, and Pitt all speak with cultivated American diction, when all three should be speaking French.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Claudia.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Louis after Claudia gets turned to ashes by the French vampires.
  • Romantic Vampire Boy: Or at least Lestat wants to be.
  • Rule of Symbolism
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Louis visits the church on his old plantation. It's a rare case of self-inflicted Last-Second Chance.
  • Sinister Scythe: One of the French vampires uses a scythe when playing death in the "Théâtre des Vampires", using it to cut things on stage. It is later used by Louis in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against said French vampires, with lethal effects.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Armand has a little boy that he keeps around to drink from. In the book he's killed off fairly inconsequentially; in the film he's last seen as the coach driver that drives Armand and Louis away from the burning theatre.
  • Spiritual Successor: Neil Jordan had previously directed the film The Company of Wolves based on the short story collection by Angela Carter. It heavily involved werewolves, and he intended to adapt some of her vampire stories as well, until her death made this impossible. He mentions in the DVD Commentary for Interview that this film was the one he made in place of it.
  • Stan Winston: The man who gave us The Alien Queen is back to scare us yet again, this time by giving our vampires their pallid corpselike appearance, retractable fangs, and most notably the gruesome puppet of Tom Cruise shrinking into a dry and bloodless corpse after Kirsten Dunst slits his throat.
  • Tainted Veins
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Louis.
  • Undead Child: Claudia.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Lestat wouldn't call it living; he'd call it surviving. And Louis demonstrates that it is not enough to sate a vampire.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?/Living Forever Is Awesome: Varies among the characters.

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alternative title(s): Interview With The Vampire
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