Interview With The Vampire (1994) is based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name and is one of the most beautiful horror films of all time. It's so gorgeous to look upon that one could make a pretty compelling argument against it even being classified as a horror film. Most of this review can be summed up by two major points: 1) preeeeeeetty and 2) you don't like women much, do you? Like, you don't even think about them at all...this was written by a woman?!?
As a book series, I genuinely enjoy Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Her version of vampires as elegant, tortured and beautiful souls works for me and as I've written before, her vampire origin story chronicled in Queen of the Damned is the most believable and intriguing, in my opinion. I know it's uncool to like Anne Rice novels, but I do and I refuse to apologize.
Now, take a moment to look upon Brad Pitt's pillowy lips, mint-green eyes and supreme broody-vulnerability. Go ahead, take your time.
The vulnerability of Louis (Pitt's character) is one of the most intriguing aspects of his character. He was THE tortured vampire before Angel from Buffy. Tortured souls are my Achille's Heel and godDAMN that man is resplendent in this film! Though he's undoubtedly a beautiful man, Pitt doesn't usually do it for me, but you would have no idea this was the case watching me drool over him in this role. He's pouty, he's pretty, and he's pale: the Mixtress-Rae-swoon-trifecta. And that hair!! I have to move on, because all I have to say here, obvi, is PREEEEEEEEEEETTTTTY!
To add to the pretty, this film truly holds up in the categories of score, makeup and visual effects. The vampire transformations (see Claudia's above) still look good. The animatronics and makeup techniques of Lestat's death look truly horrific and realistic and this was before film's heavy reliance on digital effects. Elliot Goldenthal's score for the movie references the time in which these vampires lived (from late 1700's to late 1980's) while employing full orchestras and drama drama harpsichord drama. It's delicious. The vampire fangs are my favorite of any vampires in film ever (you can see these in Claudia's transformation at the top of the post). I really like that both the lateral incisors AND the cuspids that you'd normally associate with fang teeth are pointed. I also like that they are always pointed. Their fangs don't come out like switchblades like in True Blood or anything. One of the only things I don't like about Buffy is that the vampires can look normal when they're not in "vamp-face". I mean, what's the point in being an otherworldly creature if you don't get to look like one all the time? The eyes in this movie, man...Brad Pitt's Louis has these piercing mint-green eyes that glow. It looks magnificent and truly did the vampire eyes of the book justice. Every visual in this film is decadent and delightful.
This film takes its beauty so seriously that it gives women and men alike what we've mostly been starved for in our culture, especially by the film's release in 1994: homo-erotica! Everything we see is a tease because Anne Rice's vampires can't, you know, but I don't care because it's hot! We see Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt almost make out in a drawn-out scene of extreme closeness and hair everywhere. Behold!
I haven't mentioned Lestat yet. Tom Cruise does his Tom Cruise thing in this movie and that works for this character just fine, but his visage just doesn't catch my eye when there are long-haired and pale versions of Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas around. Sorry not sorry.
Ok, so you get it. Every visual and every sound in this movie is pretty. The performances from almost all the leading actors are pretty solid as well.
Let's move on to the movie's one HUGE, glaring, and terrible flaw. It treats women like total trash, literally. Women are mothers or children or whores and always, with no exceptions, victims. And where are the people of color? Oh, they're slaves and victims too. Grrrr. The only leading woman is a girl, Kirsten Dunst (then 12) as Claudia. She's made into a vampire at age 10 or so (grosssss!) and because of this, she never grows into a woman and is weaker than other vampires so she has to literally rely on the men in her life (Lestat and Louis). Most women in this movie are whores that die mid-orgasm (their pleasure caused by dying, not by sex) at the hands of mostly Lestat, so at least you get to see them having a good time, but they're nameless victims treated dismissively. Claudia does kill a couple of men, but most victims in this film are women and most beautiful vampires are men. The film barely passes the Bechdel Test, and only because of ONE line towards the last 1/4 of the movie. The treatment of women characters in this film is a really really big disappointment, but it's the only downside to a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
Aesthetics/Visual Effects: 4.5
Treatment of Women/Minorities: 1.0