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Film / Interview with the Vampire

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"Drink from me and live forever..."

A 1994 period horror 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 Daniel Molloy (Slater), interviewing a man named Louis (Pitt) who claims to be a vampire. Molloy is unconvinced of Louis's claim until his subject displays feats of inhuman speed. He agrees to interview Louis, who then relates his previous life as a New Orleans aristocrat, and subsequent unlife as a vampire, turned by Lestat (Cruise).

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 (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:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Louis claims not to be broody in the novel, but he is in the film; allegedly Brad Pitt didn't have a happy time making the film.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Armand is a seventeen-year-old red-head in the book, but played by the dark-haired Spaniard Antonio Banderas.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the film, Louis is severely depressed after his wife dies before Lestat offers to turn him into a vampire. This doesn't make a lot of sense, as Louis is wanting to die to be freed from his suffering at that point. In the novel, Louis is depressed because he believes his actions led to the suicide of his brother, and he chooses to become a vampire because he wants to be damned and suffer for his decision.
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  • 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 all part of the show.
  • Almost Kiss: Between Louis and Armand.
  • Ambiguous Ending: It’s left unclear if Daniel chose to become a vampire or die after Lestat bit him.
  • And I Must Scream / Tailor-Made Prison: Attempted on Louis by the French vamps.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The French vampires.
    • The pimp at the beginning who tried to mug Louis.
    • Lestat (though in the end he's more sympathetic).
  • Babies Make Everything Better: See below. Lestat seems think that making Claudia a vampire will result in them all being "one happy family". It works for a bit, before being deconstructed.
  • The Baby Trap: Of sorts. Louis thinks that Lestat's main reason for turning Claudia is to keep him from leaving.
  • Berserk Button: Louis does not take well to being asked to make a vampire.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Inverted, Claudia is brought home after Louis nearly kills her, Lestat turning the girl as a gift. For her first meal, Lestat summons a maid to Claudia's bedroom, whom he hypnotizes and drapes over the bed for his new daughter to feed on.
  • Break the Haughty: Lestat by the end...only for it be subverted at the last moment.
  • Call-Back: Lestat once comments that all he needs to do to find Louis is to follow the trail of rat corpses. When he finds Lestat at the end of the film, he follows a trail of dead rats into the house and up the stairs.
  • Costume Porn: Just about everyone, though particularly Lestat and Claudia, in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Creepy Child: Claudia, due to being an Undead Child who will never grow up.
  • 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 is dying of the plague.
  • Death Seeker: Louis seems to be this at the start of the film, outright stating that he'd "be happy to join" his dead wife and child and even opening his shirt to make shooting him easier when a man threatens him with a pistol.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Louis owns a plantation and slaves. For all his morality he's still a man of his time who sees nothing wrong with this. That said he does treat the slaves on the plantation (relatively) well and frees them before burning down his house.
  • Diagonal Cut: Louis does this with a scythe to Santiago, making him Half the Man He Used to Be.
  • Diegetic Switch: At the end, Lestat cuts off the tape of Louis's interview and tunes the radio to "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones. The song plays through the end credits.
  • 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 has 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.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Louis and Armand.
  • 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.
  • Fan Disservice: Ordinarily, a fully nude woman would be arousing, but not when a group of vampires is going to feed on her.
  • 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.
  • Here We Go Again!: The film ends with Lestat attacking Daniel and draining him, then stating he's going to "give you the choice I never had"...
  • Homoerotic Subtext: May as well be Homoerotic Subtext: The Movie. Lestat and Louis raise a kid together (whom Lestat turned to try and keep Louis with him), bicker Like an Old Married Couple and just generally come across as being very intimate with each other beyond friendship. And this is only really scratching the surface. The novel is even more explicit about this, such as having Lestat and Louis share a coffin.
  • Incest-ant Admirer: Claudia for Louis. Due to her vampire curse, Claudia is stuck forever in a young child's body but her mind psychologically ages over time to that of an adult. This results in her having unpure feelings for her adoptive father Louis who only sees her as his adoptive daugther. She becomes jealous when she learns of Louis' attraction toward Armand and demands a new parental substitute should he leave her for Armand. She even calls him "love".
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Louis has... mixed feelings towards Lestat, both loving him for giving him the "Dark Gift" and essentially saving him from despair and death, and hating him for condemning him to an un-life of sterility. Claudia takes this Up to Eleven towards Lestat, though she states that, despite also holding Louis responsible for her condition, she cannot bring herself to hate him.
  • I Love You, Vampire Son: Lestat, meanwhile, loves Louis deeply, even if he hides it behind cruelty and sarcasm.
  • Important Haircut: Claudia refuses to be Lestat's doll by cutting off her golden locks, but they grow right back.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: 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 and chickens, although Lestat tries to convince him to feed off "evildoers" to ease his conscience. Lestat himself being utterly self-centered, doesn't have any moral hangups about sucking dry anyone who crosses his path.
  • Jerkass: Lestat. However, it could be argued that, by the end, he's become a Jerkass Woobie.
  • Jump Scare:
    • In the opening, Louis scares the interviewer Daniel by swiftly turning on the lights, demonstrating his vampire speed.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lost Lenore: Louis's wife and infant child, whose off-screen deaths triggered his downward spiral into depression (this is changed from the book, where Louis is depressed over his brother dying). Eventually, Claudia becomes this for him too.
  • Manly Tears: Louis sheds these while recounting Claudia's death.
  • Never Grew Up: Claudia, who is stuck permanently at the physical age of twelve, upped from six in the original book.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: A major reason Claudia is the way she is.
  • 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. 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 Louis as "nonsense," implying that they have no vulnerability to them. They find it necessary to sleep through the day in coffins, though are shown awake indoors during the day on occasion. 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.
  • Overshadowed 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 Adaptation: In the book Claudia was about five or six when she was turned; in the film she's substantially older, because there's no way you could get a five year old to pull off what was required for the role. Likewise, Armand was aged up from 17 to remove pedophilic overtones from his relationship with Louis.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: At one point Lestat scolds and berates Claudia for killing a seamstress after she pricked her finger... because now they will have to find someone else to finish the expensive dress she was making for Claudia, as well as his concern about never killing prey in their home( for fear of arousing suspicion). 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.
  • Rasputinian Death: Lestat is poisoned with "dead blood" and his throat is slit, which seemingly kills him. Then he's dumped in a swamp, which he returns from horribly disfigured. Then he's set on fire. Ultimately subverted when it's revealed he survived that too, albeit significantly weakened.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Claudia. This applies to all vampires in general because of the 'never aging past the point you were turned' thing, though Claudia is the most extreme example, still resembling a little girl despite being close to a hundred towards the end of the film.
  • 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: When Louis discovers cinema and is cherishing the ability to see colours and daytime again, there's a shot from Superman. While colour film had been around long before it was made, it does provide a contrast for Louis, as Superman is a fantastical being that is a friend to the masses rather than a predator and gains power from the sun instead of being killed by it. Just as vampires are envied by mortals for their ability to stay young and cheat death, we see that vampires have their own personal envies.
  • 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.
  • Super Strength: Vampires have supernatural strength, but Louis seems to be the strongest of all.
  • Tainted Veins: One of the telltale signs of vampires when seen in strong light.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Louis.
  • Tranquil Fury: Louis displays this during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Claudia's death.
  • Translation Convention: All languages are presented in English.
  • Undead Child: Claudia.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Vampires can feed off the blood of animals, although Lestat wouldn't call it living; he'd call it surviving. And Louis demonstrates that the blood of rats and chickens fall far short of sating a vampire.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?/Living Forever Is Awesome: The reaction to immortality varies among the characters with Louis finding himself torn between the two tropes. Interestingly Armand mentions that the vast majority of vampires grow weary of immortality and decide to embrace death rather than go on, which is likely one of the reasons their numbers are not greater.
    • Initially Claudia embraces her "dark gift" with a great amount of murderous zeal and loves being spoiled by her adopted vampire parents. However as she matures mentally she comes to realise the long-term implications of physically being a child forever and deeply resents she will never experience being a woman.


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