Research Paper: Movie: Interview With a Vampire

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[. . .] Instead, keeping her at a preschool age, where she would still be able to imprint upon Louis as a father figure, would have made more sense for the continuity of the storyline (Neville). As a result, she felt that the combination of the two changes served to flatten out the character of Louis, make him appear less complex, and make him more human (Neville). In a movie focusing on the otherworldliness of vampires, making a character appear more human may be an error.

In fact, one of the most significant relationships in the novel is the one between the vampire Armand and Louis. In both the book and the movie, Louis and Claudia conspire to kill Lestat, unaware that killing their master is an offense punishable by death by other vampires. The vampire Armand, in addition to other members of a vampire counsel, eventually discover this crime and Claudia, along with Yvette, a vampire that has served as her nanny, are left to die in the sunlight. In the movie, Louis responds to Claudia's death with fury. He cannot forgive Armand for the role that Armand played in Claudia's death and leaves him, which places Louis in solitude for many years (Interview with the Vampire, Jordan). The novel, however, paints a far more complicated portrait. Louis is angry with Armand for the role he played in Claudia's death, but also seems to realize that Claudia was suffering tremendously as an adult woman trapped eternally in a child's body and that her instability was a threat to him. Rather than leaving Armand after Claudia's death, Louis becomes Armand's companion (Rice, Kindle). The idea that he would join a person he viewed as responsible for his child's death as a willing companion makes Louis seem less human, which goes a long way towards describing his alienation and otherworldliness in the novel. The fact that the movie changed this detail emphasized Louis' humanity, which decreased the pathos of the moment.

In fact, one of the elements that Jordan chose to omit from the movie also demonstrates how he attempted to portray the vampires' humanity. In the novel, after Louis and Claudia believe that they have killed Lestat, they travel around Europe trying to find other vampires. They are largely unsuccessful. However, in Transylvania, they do encounter vampires. These vampires, however, are very different from them. They do not appear to have a significant amount of control over their own behavior and are more like zombies than vampires (Rice, Kindle). The movie does not show Louis and Claudia encountering these mindless vampires. Again, this seems to highlight Jordan's desire to portray the complex humanity of the vampires in the film, which would be undermined by footage showing other vampires as essentially mindless eating machines.

Rather than detracting from the storyline, there are many who believe that the emphasis on the humanity of the characters actually enhances Rice's original story. For example, film critic Janet Maslin believes that the film is able to not only capture the emotion in the movie, but actually amplifies that emotion. For example, though the novel does not describe Louis and Lestat having sex in a conventional manner, it certainly describes what one would consider a romantic homosexual relationship between the two men. The movie is even more overt in its portrayal of the sexual overtones in the relationship between the two vampires. In fact, though Lestat cannot fly in the book, that changes in the movie. When he decides to kill Louis, "Mr. Jordan gives it a vibrant sexual energy that sends the two men hurtling toward the heavens" (Maslin, N.p.). The characters literally fly into the sky, which is evocative of climax, while, in the book, the scene is not sexual or tender, but simply savage (Interview with the Vampire, Jordan).

Like Maslin, Roger Ebert believes that Jordan's use of humanity to infuse his vampires with pathos was a wise decision that helps realize the emotion that Rice attempted to portray in her novels. According to Ebert, "the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness. That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they'd gotten away with something" (Ebert, N.p.). However, the movie, like the novel, ends with the young reporter Daniel asking Louis to transform him into a vampire. In the novel, Louis is so enraged by this request that he sucks Daniel's blood until Daniel lapses into unconsciousness. When Daniel recovers, he jumps into his car and goes in search of Lestat (Rice, Kindle). In the movie, Louis is angry and is violent with Daniel, but does not drink his blood. Moreover, when Daniel jumps into the car to find Lestat, he is surprised by Lestat jumping up from his back seat, draining his blood, and offering him a choice about whether or not to become a vampire (Interview with the Vampire, Jordan). This behavior is not consistent with the arrogant and cruel way that Lestat was portrayed in the movie.

Ultimately, the movie provides a decent rendition of the book. Anne Rice was notoriously opposed to some of the actors that were selected for the movie, but expressed her pleasure at the end result of the movie (Maslin, N.p.). The fact that she approved of the movie goes a long way towards suggesting that the movie conveyed the author's sentiment. However, whether one finds the book or the movie more compelling appears to be a matter of personal preference. Those drawn to the innate humanity and struggle of vampires will probably find the movie more appealing. Those drawn to the idea of vampires being able to, at least momentarily, transcend humanity, will probably find the book more appealing. Either choice is bound to provide both entertainment and food for thought for the reader or observer.

Works Cited

Ebert, Roger. "Interview with the Vampire." RogerEbert.com. N.p. 11 Nov. 1994. Web. 24

Feb. 2014.

Interview with the Vampire. Dir. Neil Jordan. Perf. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, and Kirsten Dunst. Geffen Pictures, 1994. Film.

Maslin, Janet. "Interview with the Vampire (1994)." The New York Times. N.p. 11 Nov.

1994. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Neville, Anne. Personal interview. 24 Feb. 2014.

Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire. New York: Ballantine Books. 1976. Kindle file.

Smith, Jennifer Crusie. "Anne Rice: A Critical Companion: Chapter Three: Interview with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Movie: Interview With a Vampire."  Essaytown.com.  February 25, 2014.  Accessed June 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movie-interview-vampire/9288434.