Cruise, Pitt turn heads – bite them off
Guest Review by Jay Bliznick
Vampires never scare me. Well, I should never say never; there are a few exceptions: Max Schreck from the original Nosferatu with his rat-like neck, bald head, and long bony fingers, or the horrible grinning Lon Chaney in London After Midnight, who I had only seen in surviving stills from the film in Famous Monsters, and, as a child, quickly passed by while leafing through the magazine so as not to let the hideous image burn too deep in my brain and give me nightmares. But it was more the grotesque images of those bloodsuckers that scared me, not the fact they, indeed, sucked blood. That’s why I didn’t expect the new film based on Anne Rice’s best selling Interview With The Vampire to scare me. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – it is a good film, not great, good. But I liked it, and recommend it.
Sure, it looked great and the acting was top notch. It shed little new light on the “vampire legend” as we know it but still, there was something there that made me kick my heels with delight as the film slowly seeped on.
I never have had much liking for society, especially NORMAL people who adhere to Judeo-Christian beliefs like a child clinging to a security blanket. I never really thought that people knew what was good for themselves, let alone others and they created laws blindly and followed them the same way. It is the offense that these mainstream assholes that delights me so.
Even in the screening I was at, I watched in delight as people walked out.
Girls with “mall hair” cursing Tom Cruise aloud because their idol, who only movies ago danced in socks and underwear for them, shaking his little suburban ass, had now gone queer; women who thought the erotic overtones of the book were so sexy, walking out on cue as the glistening, oozing viscus of a quartered vampire lingered on screen. Guys with pressed polo shirts and baseball caps yelling out “Aw, he’s a fag!” when old Tom sucked seductively on the neck of Brad Pitt. Old women, jabbing their husbands in the ribs and saying “Let’s go Morris” because they knew someone was going to fuck that 12 year old vampire girl. It was all too deliciously perverse.
I found that it pays to know your directors to help make decisions on which movies to pay full price for. Neil Jordan, whose Crying Game I liked, has had nothing but bad luck on his last Hollywood outing. I figure, although, that this was because he had Hollywood yahoos standing over him and telling him what to do. This time he pulled no punches in using just the right amount of social taboo to shock his audience without being tasteless. Now, this film is no Salo, (thank goodness), and it’s no surprise that the man who showed us Jaye Davidson’s cock would make a somewhat shocking film, but what it does is not pander to the tamer tastes of the masses. This is strength numero uno.
The movie’s second strength is Anne Rice not surrendering the writing of the script to some group of suspender-wearing, mineral water-slurping hacks. She has good idealization of what was important about her characters’ relationships and interactions as well as delicately crafting her main characters’ transition from searching for the meaning of life to the meaning of un-death.
Also, I credit her as well for being at least partly responsible for keeping in the elements that I love best about the film. I can’t help but think that if she didn’t do the script the 12 year old vampire companion would have been 16 and Tom Cruise would have turned Brad Pitt into a vampire by sucking on a beer can while watching a football game.
The third redeeming strength is the great F/X by Alien creature creator and make-up wizard Stan Winston. He made sure that there was no clean little vampire bite with a dribble of blood in the corner of the diners’ mouth. If it was red, it gushed. If a head was taken off, a person chopped in two or a poodle consumed, you saw glistening guts in all their glory.
The fourth strength was, believe it or not, Tom Cruise. After taking shit from Anne Rice for not being evil enough, Oprah for being too evil, gays for not being faggy enough and the religious right for being too faggy, he proves without a doubt that he can hold his own amongst the world of the undead. Although the actual sexual relationship between Old Lestat (as Tom’s character is called) and the lovely and talented Brad Pitt is toned down, we get just the right amount of sexual tension.
Finally, the cute little 12 year old vampire girl is amazing. As I sat in the audience I loved listening to the gasps of people who didn’t believe that this little girl was acting and talking like an adult who was at the tail end of years of pure sexual frustration.
They say that at the 1931 premier of Dracula, faint hearted women left the theatre in fear and repulsion. It takes more than fear for a good movie to do that today but whatever it took, this time Oprah Winfrey headed the pack when she stormed out of a screening.