Queen of the Damned 20 Years Later

First I want to begin by saying this, I was a big fan of the Vampire Chronicles from Anne Rice.  When An Interview With the Vampire was released in theaters in 1994, I was a 14 year old enamored with Vampires.  This movie opened me up to an entire new world of Vampires.  A very romantic world of Vampires.  But there was so much substance to the characters and each book brought new mythos to the Vampire Chronicles.  For years I wondered if we’d ever see an adaptation of The Vampire Lestat and how that would work with Tom Cruise reprising his role.  Quickly I realized, Cruise likely wouldn’t come back.

In the early days of the internet I found other fans of the Anne Rice novels on message boards and some whispers of a sequel and a recast of Lestat.  Eventually we learned the title was Queen of the Damned, the title of the third book.  I was confused yet excited as it it one of the better books in the series. 

In mid to late 2001 I saw the first trailer, Aaliyah was to play Akasha, the Vampire Queen and Stuart Townsend Lestat.  Now, Stuart Townsend was supposed to be Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings films and he being recast with Viggo Mortenson was the smartest thing they could have done.  So, he being Lestat kind of worried me.  Also, Aaliyah as Akasha, well she was so gorgeous, I figured it could work.

The film was released in February 2002 and I was there opening night with my friend Amanda.  I really enjoyed the movie, but the music got me even more.  I enjoyed the B film quality to Queen of the Damned and I’m sure they didn’t intend on that being what they were going for.   But this was a far cry from 1994’s Interview with the Vampire.  But, not a bad vampire movie, considering what was coming within a few years….You know what I’m referring to.

I bought the soundtrack the next day and devoured every song created for Lestat, they hit a cord with me.  Songs about being a Vampire that were well written and preformed by some of the newest metal performers and Johnathan Davis from Korn for the film.  The soundtrack kicks ass, up and down.  It kind of outshines the movie honestly.

Watching Queen of the Damned in 2022, 20 years later, was a treat.  Sure it has aged poorly, the blur effect when the Vampires moved fast was silly.   But it took me back to the late-90s and early 2000s style of horror filmmaking and on of the last decent vampire flicks pre-Twilight. 

I found myself smiling at certain scenes, cringing at others and singing along to the songs as they appeared.  It took me back to being 21 and my obsession with Vampires and the lore that surrounds the Vampire.   I genuinely had a fun time watching Queen of the Damned all these years later and I honestly wish we would have seen Tales of the Body Theft or Memnoch the Devil with this cast.  But I’m happy for what we have.

An Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned are so different but both I really enjoy, for differing reasons.  It’s 2022 and we’re finally seeing Lestat and Louis come back in the AMC series, as of publishing I haven’t watched an episode.  I’d love to see more Anne Rice properties come to life, The Mayfair Witches or Ramses the Damned.  That would be pretty awesome.

I’d say put fresh eyes and an open mind on Queen of the Damned. It may scream “Nu-Metal” but it was from a time that it was what was very much in. This was also the final performance of Aaliyah on screen unfortunately. Her future looked bright on film. She did a great job with what she was given.

Sure not everything is roses with this movie and many changes from the source material have changed, like Lestat being turned and his sire. But all in the name of film.

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About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)