100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Seventy-Five - "Interview with the Vampire!"


Good Mourning to you, my faithful servants! I trust you had a horrible night's sleep! Waking up on the wrong side of the crypt today, are we?!

Thank you and welcome again to the 100 Days blog! Since I've been linked to my newspaper's blog site, my readership has tripled. Now, don't let that staggering statistic fool you - by tripled, I mean I went from 16 readers to like 50 readers. But this pleases my blackened, empty heart to no end! Because I need lives ... I need lives for the master! THE MASTER WILL COME! AND HE HAS PROMISED TO MAKE ME IMMORTAL!

Speaking of immortal ... I'm actually kind of pleased to present today's selection, an underrated adaptation of Anne Rice's prolific "Vampire" series - 1994's "Interview with the Vampire!"

Thanks as usual for reading and playing along! And please don't hesitate to spread the bad word about us - repost this link on your MyBooks and your Facey-Pages, twit it on your Tweet, write it in the sky ... whatever it takes! Now, go ... go and do my bidding, my minions! GO! AND WE SHALL CREATE A RACE OF ATOMIC SUPERMEN THAT WILL CONQUER THE WORLD! Heh heh heh ...

Now, on to pillage!

Interview with the Vampire (1994): Directed by Neil Jordan. Starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Stephen Rea and Antonia Banderas.

The Skinny: A rought adaptation of Anne Rice's first novel in the Vampire series finds our brooding Louis trying to find a companion in teh modern world and choosing a writer. As the vampire's story unfolds, we learn about the eternal damned and their place in the undercurrents of our society, as well as Louis' long and colorful history.

What's Good: When Anne Rice heard that Tom Cruise - at the height of his career, mind you - was going to play her beloved Lestat, it's rumored she was quite upset. But once she saw the film, she was so convinced by his performance that she immediately penned him a letter in apology for ever doubting him. And so should everybody else, because he is fantastic. A sign of a good actor is the abandonment of self-preservation, and Cruise hits that mark almost immediately. Watch the saliva drip from his mouth as he argues with Brad Pitt's Louis over "dinner." Look into his eyes when the bloodlust hits him. This man is in total control of his craft. Never mind the sofa jumping and the Scientology - this stuff is what helped make Cruise a superstar. And Pitt is also great as the brooding Louis, showing us the horror the character feels inside over his new undead nature. These are both finely crafted performances, and the haters need to back up off them. Add to the mix a stellar (and very young) Kirsten Dunst and you get a fine film that isn't "The Exorcist," but is still a fun, moody, fanged time.

What's Bad: While I do love director Neil Jordan - who wowed us with his previous film, "The Crying Game" - even his most staunch fans must agree that he sometimes has a bit of a pacing problem, And that is what kills the momentum of this movie more than once. We meet our vamps, we move immediately into their life, there is some exposition, we meet Claudia, then some more exposition, and then we get to meet a whole new set of characters more than halfway through the film. By that point, most audiences have ceased paying attention to detail and are just looking for the spectacle, which in this film comes much too late (which is a shame, because if you failed to notice Antonio Banderas as the weepy Vampire Armand, then you missed out on some seriously sexy shit). Also, if you're looking for genuine scares, this isn't the place - this film is more about the existential horror felt by Pitt's Louis than it is about making us jump out of our seats. It explores the asexual nature of the vamps and their polished, Victorian-influenced lifestyle, but isn't concerned with instilling dread in us over these creatures' existence. No, in fact we WANT to be these vamps - after all, what American doesn't want to die young and stay pretty?

Why We Like It: I had never read the books before this film hit the theaters but I ran right out and bought them all afterwards. I even have a signed hardback copy of "Memnoch the Devil" somewhere. I like vampire films, I love Pitt, Cruise, Rea and Banderas, and Dunst made a fan out of me almost immediately with her precocious performance. Yes it does slow down a bit, but Jordan gives us so much to look at - lensed so beautifully even the shadows of the graveyard dazzle the eyes - that he can almost be forgiven for the pacing issues. This was the first film in a long time that gave vamps that sexy edge - perhaps the first good one since Lugosi's "Dracula." Now, that's not to say that this film is of the same caliber as the immortal "Dracula," but it made the vamps more than just bloodsucking lurkers waiting to batten upon us. They are seen to be as fragile and as driven by their basest instincts as us regular folk, and that makes them both believable and beautiful.

Memorable Stuff: This film is actually quite quotable - that is, if you're given to long, broody sessions with red wine and clove cigarettes, dressed in black velvet and rehearsing lines from "JTHM" in between readings of Poe's "Lenore," which I am. But other than the lines, the scene I remember best is when Louis and Armand meet. Banderas looks at Pitt like he's going to leap over that desk and have at his tender ass, and Pitt accordingly looks like a deer in the headlights. And when Armand asks if Louis has killed his creator (the only crime among vampires), and Louis tries to deflect, Banderas' response - in his clipped Spanish accent and inflection - never fails to reduce me to tears of laughter: "No, no - it's alREADY begun!" His voice borders on another great Latino actor, Ricardo Montalban, when he delivers that line and it makes the movie for me.