First, let’s get into character.
Go find a mirror.
Look into it.
Now hold that look. Hold it … hold it … hold it for 90 minutes.
Congratulations! You are the Vampire Lestat. (Cameron Rogers)
Queen Of The Damned was made in Melbourne with as many local extras as they could scrounge up. A great many of these are posters to the Usenet newsgroup aus.culture.gothic. They had a few words to say concerning the premiere …
I actually started watching this thing thinking Mr. Filthy might have been a little harsh in his review of it. The setup sequence lasted about a minute and went along the lines of “Slept a lot, heard music, rose from dead, found a band, spookied them, my band now, me famous, whatever”. This guy spent the whole fucking movie in one shade of emotion: “I’m too sexy for this script,” the end result being you’d rather shag your aunt than Stewie.
This kinda summed up the rest of the flick. There was no foreshadowing, no establishment of character or motivation (I had no idea why half the crap that was happening was happening: why are they famous? Why did they say that? What are they doing? Where is this going? THIS is why you must fight Akasha? A wall? WTF? Ten minutes to go and you’re telling us now? Who gives a rats!), EVERYONE was a fucking goth except the two token victims who stuck out like dog’s balls because they dressed normally, with the end result being a movie I wouldn’t call boring so much as an escalating headache.
It was a string of pretty much unconnected and unspectacular scenes too busy whacking off to itself to realise the world is watching.
For me at least it was the kind of film that ends and you actually breathe a sigh of relief – leaving you with a kind of bland and achey taste in your brain. It’s the kind of movie which ferments in your head, taking you over time from tedium to indignation to a kind of low-level anger that someone inflicted this horseshit on you – and had the gall to do it so self-importantly. The more you think about it the worse you realise it was, until it reaches the point where the only way you’re going to get to sleep is to latch on to someone who saw it as well and rant at each other like Vietnam vets about the fall of Saigon. Just let it out, bro.
This film is, without a doubt, fucking awful. I don’t mean to sound holier than thou here, but the screenwriters should be run out of town on a fucking rail. Anne Rice shot her wad of criticism way too early with IWTV. She should have held off until she saw this anaemic abortion.
I blame the writer(s) and director. I feel sorry for Townsend. I feel sorry for the actors in general. They had nothing to work with whatsoever.
This was not a film where you could look at the performances and say “I could do a better job”, because the dialogue was a collection of clichéd lines from every vamp flick/book you’ve ever heard of. It was a vampire movie filled with goths written by white men who know nothing about either, save the usual clichés.
I find that word popping up a lot in reference to this bollocks.
I noticed that Townsend/Theron and co. left less than halfway through it.
God, McGann was so wasted in that film. Even Perez. If anything, their rare moments of quality just cast the rest of the thing in the most appalling light.
Marius’ ‘feeding instruction’ scene was cute and funny, as was his interaction with McGann (even if it was crappily set up and never paid off satisfactorily). In those moments you can tell he was a guy who’s been acting for years, and everyone else just hasn’t. McGann was just more convincing in his bland role than everyone else in their bland role.
And I got a laugh seeing the woman from Full Frontal (the SBS woman) playing one of the Talamasca. I kept hoping she’d use that ‘moofie’ accent, but she didn’t.
Maharet’s family tree. A techie on set said apparently the rectangles were receptacles for the ashes of each individual family member. Evidently, so great was the emotion of the scene their troubled spirits returned to manifest their grief in vampy fashion.
(Ten minutes to go)
MARIUS: When Akasha is being fed from she is vulnerable for but a moment. Then must we strike.
ME: Yes. It’s possible. I used to target womp rats in my T16 back home.
I understand that we’re supposed to see Maharet as deeply poignant and noble (or something). I know this because there was deeply poignant and noble music playing whenever the camera oozed over that family tree thing. That’s the only reason I know I was supposed to feel that way. The characters themselves did absolutely nothing to tip me off to this fact – let alone earn it.
It’s like the trailer says: “It’s a fear … a fear that turns to horror …”
Yup. “Your career is fucking over …”
Cameron Rogers’ second first novel, The Music Of Razors, is out now through Penguin.
Nobody pay actual money to go see the Queen of the Damned thing, okay? I just attended the preview at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, last Wednesday evening.
For free – about a zillion goth friends got paid to sit around (in St Albans, Melbourne) being all dressed up and gothly, and they all got free tickets. Also everyone that turned up to the “Death Valley concert”, which was held in sunny Werribee, got free tickets too.
I only said no to being a movie extra because they called me about a week into my new job. Oh well!
But I digress … the movie is shite. It’s a 90 minute music clip with no redeeming features, including the music.
It’s vaguely pretty, if you happen to like looking at the aesthetic. But that’s all. Everything else about it is unmitigated plotless shite.
Do yourself a favour. If you get free tickets to this, give them to someone else. Preferably someone you hate.
I had two hours stolen last night. Two hours I had to take off work and sleep in, just to get back, and I still feel robbed, violated and mentally reamed out by a masonry bit.
Now … to be perfectly fair, I did enjoy myself in some small way, Unfortunately, that had very little to do with the movie and a lot to do with the company I was with.
Leaving the film, I tried to look at each aspect of the film and give it a rating between 1 and 5.
OK … Script – complete shit – 0. Cinematography … well … there was some cinematography … umm … 2? That’s as far as I got before I ran out of things to say. Completely. Compared to this, Interview With The Vampire was a masterpiece. Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Lestat deserving of an award, and the dialogue contained therein worthy of a Shakespearean sonnet.
I’m serious. Whoever got hold of the original books and wrote a rough screenplay was either on crack or suffering from severe oxygen deprivation. Not being a huge fan of Anne Rice’s writing, I wasn’t particularly disturbed to see her work mutilated in such a fashion, I was, however, from a purely … academic point of view, horrified at the complete butchery of the text that they’d performed.
Actingwise, I kept looking for the marionette strings making Stewart Townsend move. I guess they’d edited those out during post production. Likewise, I was also looking for the way they’d cunningly made his mouth move and issue totally lifelike and amazingly corny dialogue.
Matt Newton looked like a fucking goldfish, standing there for the last 40 minutes of the film in what I can only assume was an attempted portrayal of Louis. THEY LET HIM SPEAK. They let him open his mouth and make “wah wah wah” sounds with his mouth. In reality, he looked like he was saying “Oh Look! A rock! Who put this in here!?” and they’d just dubbed some other words over. You can tell … I looked at the way his lips moved when he got a big cumshot closeup. The only thing missing from that slackjawed, eyes pinned look of absolute vapidity was a thin trickle of drool running out one side of his mouth.
There were other characters in there, I’m sure of it. I saw Bruce Spence. He was, one can assume from the way he was draped in linen, playing Khayman (for those of you that can remember the book). It’s a pity they didn’t let him open his mouth and improve the film, and trust me, it would have.
I’d love to start paying out on the actors here – fuck it, I already have – but I’m going to stop and just say that whoever was in charge of casting should be shot. Now. In the Head. Several times. I’m blaming the casting people for such an atrocious job.
Characterisation – bad, hideous. Ugly. I felt embarassed for the people watching it.
Important Question time: When the fuck did Egypt suddenly become a province of Eastern Europe? More specifically Transylvania??
Whoever was Ali-haha’s voice coach should also be added to the Shoot Now list.
I could go on like this for months if need be. I won’t. I’ll add some highlights of the film. Little bits and pieces which at least made me laugh … or cheer … or cry … I’m not sure.
1: Various extras I recognised.
2: Seeing our very own Morgan (Entrippy) in the crowd shot, shaking his booty.
3: HIGHLIGHT OF FILM: Seeing Psychonaut‘s own PJ saunter past looking like he’d just stepped out of his house to go out. Sunglasses on, Cigarette dangling out of his mouth. Then, later, seeing PJ enter shot from the right blindside Paul McGann and exit to the left without breaking stride. Cigarette still in mouth, sunglasses still on.
4: Oh … and in response to a lines from the film :
Lestat/Townsend: “I knew I left that (damn?) journal somewhere.”
Voice in Crowd: “D’OH!”
Now this one, I can’t remember too well, I can’t remember who in the film said it. I do remember the comment from Penny, though:
Jesse (?): You’re Lestat, I know all about you!
Lestat/Townsend: How do you know?
Penny: I’ve read your Livejournal!
In short, the only thing that could have redeemed this film would have been a riot in the seating area. A huge violent roiling mass tearing apart the Sidney Myer Music bowl in an attempt to get to those responsible for this atrocity sitting somewhere behind or in the boxes above.
The film sucked. But I’ve seen films suck before, and still a few things are confusing about this one:
The violin girl corpse was BREATHING!
And where did Akdorksha get that change of clothes supposedly in the middle of nowhere? And find the time to paint her nails that night with all the killing she was meant to be doing?
And why did they kill Akdorksha anyway? She wasn’t that bad. I mean, she killed stuff, but so did they – part of being Vampiric, I thought that was pretty much stated. And the whole “I want to rule the world, I think I’ll kill a couple of people” was what Lestat himself was doing. And, apparently, he loved her – or something. So why didn’t they kill him too?
Kudos though to Vincent Perez for being the comedy relief. Can’t work out whether it was intentional or not.
This pseudo-quasi-moreofawhine-review is closed by the following statement, that I think sums up the movie as a whole:
“Do you still vant it? No! Of course you don’t…”
Oh yeah, Queen Of The Damned, I seemed to have lost the plot there for a minute, as did the makers of this film.
It was complete crud, but that’s what I expected. However, we (Kate, Max, Jarod and myself) were in fine form.
We got there around eight, and the line was wrapped around the block of the botanical gardens. Probably forty minutes waiting around in the line before we actually got in the place.
Luckily we didn’t have to wait to long for it to actually start. Stuart Townsend came out on stage and said “hello ladies, gentlemen and goths” … to which a crew of someone (baby goths? rent a crowd?) all cheered. Bah, wot, goths are a third gender now? That was possibly the funniest thing all night, other than a line in the film by Lestat to Marius, along the lines of “I don’t understand how you survived past the fifties in red velvet.” You had to be there. It really seemed amusing at the time. Set the standard for the rest of the film.
We took a bottle of Kahlua milkshake and snacks, and bagged it out all the way through, much to the annoyance of people around us, I guess. It was awful. Plot? Characterisation? Nope … they bypassed all that sort of stuff. Nothing really happened, or was brushed over so lightly you wondered why they even bothered.
It didn’t really make much sense at all. It was over halfway through when I asked, was it me, or have the characters not been established yet? Glad it wasn’t just me who thought there should be reasons behind what was going on by now.
Why didn’t they kill Lestat, anyway? Why were the ‘action’ scenes so lame?
I give the movie a big one outta ten ‘cos the chick really died, and a big nine out of ten to my gang for a good night. Only complaint, we could have been drunker and more obnoxious.
If they’d just included a little bit of Akasha’s genocidal plans (yeah, I’m doing the ‘they should have made it more like the book’ bit again) it might have at least made it make sense why “she must be destroyed” (I don’t remember anyone saying that line, but I’d be surprised if someone didn’t). And some reason why people did what they did.
That’s probably all it would have taken to make it at least a passable (not memorable) movie – not an engaging plot (like Xoreth said, it’s just eye candy) but just one that makes sense. Spend five fucking minutes to somehow explain who the fuck Maharet and Khayman and Armand are supposed to be (I don’t care if it’s a poxy flashback cliche, at least it would be something) and why Maharet’s eyes bleed and Why The Fuck That Wall Drips Blood (if it don’t make sense, don’t stick it in).
Gah. Up until Lestat and Akasha’s elopement, I was sitting there thinking “well, it’s not a great film but it’s not that bad”, then in the last few scenes, it suddenly became “what the fuck?” as everything went pear-shaped.
Did they have the thing finished when Aaliyah bit the dust? There seemed to be a hell of a rush job done there, and I can’t help wondering if they just slapped something together to finish it off before people forgot who she was.
Met cute redhead chick being stalked by other V’s. Scared them off, had her to self. Go me ! She’s read my deadjournal (teehee) too, she’s a fan! This is V. Good.
Marius big poopy head. Always wanting to ruin fun. Also, V. embarassing having father show up in dressing gown when trying to be sexy rockstar. Is still getting over embarassing scene in 1800s with the rent boys and the chicken. Should deal with me being prettier, move on, but noooo.
Gave redhead chick standard spiel about horror of being vampire. Always works. Yay me. Still the prettiest!
V. annoyed with Marius. Always does things just to spite me. Like borrowing socks and only returning one. Made David a vampire right after I told him not to.
Will stamp foot v. soon if do not get my way.
Well, we all know how incredibly bad the film was, and that most of us missed Angel for this (can someone please write up a detailed report of what happened in Angel last night for those of us silly enough to go elsewhere?). Since the only entertainment consisted of funny bits, both in the film and in the gathering beforehand, here is my attempt to point out most of them – for those who were and weren’t there.
The Gathering Beforehand:
– Fran and Sam arriving in the hot purple car to the VIP area. People lined the rails and even a few clapped … I just sat there thinking “What? They’re just people like us, we see them at clubs most weeks!”
– Helen and Wendi from Abyss getting a bigger cheer than most of the “celebrities” as they went down the VIP section. They’d been talking earlier about driving their Silvertop taxi up to the red carpet.
– The poor, poor people paid (not enough though) to dress up as freaks and generally act as though they had severe constipation. When two of the girls did a pretend kiss they were subject to a barrage of abuse from most of us along the lines of “Your lips aren’t touching!” and one of them who couldn’t crack the whip kept getting comments to learn how to do it.
– Walking past the ridiculously long line of people waiting to get in and thinking “SUCKERS!” The expressions on their faces could have set concrete.
– Once inside our seats, observing the celebrities and notables who were turning up and being stopped for the camera. Neef and Miss Alex were early victims, and got a big cheer from all of us.
– John Farnham turning up. Derisive calls greeted his appearance on the screen and when he came into the auditorium I yelled, “Whispering Jack was your best album! My mum wants your autograph!”
– Michael turning up (Stewart Townsend’s stand-in for practices, it’s an extras’ joke) and getting a far bigger applause than Stewart himself. Also, when Stewie went up to make a speech, both PJ and I were planning to yell something with regards to Michael but were outdone by someone else yelling “We want Michael! Where’s Michael?” Now that was harsh, but Stewart took it quite graciously (and remembered!) although it’s probably the last time he ever works in Melbourne …
– Molly Meldrum showing. He looked very old and fat, and starting to look more and more the victim of habitual dissipation. Obviously at a complete loss of what to say at the film, he kept sounding like he was about to say it was “shit” and then stopping itself. Same with Richard Wilkins.
– Nick Gianopolis (or something) The only one to say anything witty during the interview, he then kept trying to hog the limelight with the cameras.
– A confused and obviously slightly-disturbed Steve Bracks managing to keep a smiling face as per usual despite knowing nothing about the film other than that it was made in Melbourne. I wonder what he would have to say about the finished product?
– The announcer beginning his speech with “Celebrities, Ladies, Gentlemen and goths” This produced quite a few derisive catcalls and the looks on the faces of everyone around me was one of tight-lipped rage. I have to confess I was pretty insulted too.
:The Movie Itself: (SPOILER ALERT)
– Rowland S. Howard’s brief cameo as one of the vampires in the nightclub. I remember thinking, “My God, that looks like Rowland Howard!” and then later seeing his name in the credits. I guess he must have been really desperate for smack.
– The fight between Lestat and the baby vampires outside the nightclub as they tried to kill Jesse. Blurry choppy shit happening in the background and one of the vampires just stands there hissing. It was fucking hilarious and half the people near me pissed themselves laughing. I kept getting the visual of a piglet that’s been lifted up and just goes “WEEEEEHH!! WEEEEEEEH! WEEEEEEEH!” Go away or I’ll hiss on you!
– The heavy breathing that issued from Lestat (or someone) every so often. Finally I couldn’t take it any more and yelled, “Feel the dark side of the force, Luke!”
– The fact that Jesse was really quite ugly for most of the film (except when she finally became a vampire and discovered foundation) and her general baby-gothy and stunned-mullet performance. At this point I should add that the acting by everyone was atrocious.
– The sequence when Lestat wakes up at somebody’s house and there are bodies in the pool. My girlfriend had the image that it was like some house owner waking up after a really big party and there are all these beer cans in the pool – like that but only worse.
– The sequence afterwards when Lestat is standing on the beach with Akasha and she says “they … opposed … me … and … now … they … are … dead …” after which I just couldn’t help thinking, “and so are you, baby!!!”
– That’s another thing – why did everyone in the film … talk … so … slowly? And strenuously avoid polysyllabic words whenever possible? Don’t tell me, I know the answer as well as you do.
– The scene when the two groupies get taken to Lestat and one of them is Jesse. Lestat says “Oh a London goth!” (to snorts of laughter) and when he declares Jesse to be Talamasca, the other groupie says “I’m Episcopalian!” And why, if he’s such a big rockstar, did he choose four of the most unnattractive women in the whole goddamn film?
– Seeing how the crowd at the live performance had been inexpertly copied, cut and pasted to make it look a lot bigger than it actually was. You could see the same patterns in the sections of crowd.
– Seeing the fight scenes that we were witness to while being extras (with all the vampires flying up on stage) made completely choppy, blurry and totally unexciting.
– The one thing that I thought would be the saving grace of this film – Vincent Perez as Marius – become total disappointment. His portrayal was completely unconvincing and extremely wooden.
– Poor little Matthew Newton in the end scene. I remember as it got to the climax and thinking “Who’s this little dweeb?” He looked like a fish caught on land for most of the time, and then when he didn’t die I was really quite disappointed. Seeing him hiss and fly through the air also caused a fair deal of laughter. Only found out who it was in the credits and then was not really surprised. I wonder how much ol’ Bert forked out to the producer to get his son that part?
You know, that’s really all I can think of for the moment … Yes! That bloody bit when Lestat walks out into the sunshine, looks completely nonplussed about having seen the sun for the first time in some two hundred-odd years, and then has Akasha calmly tell him that drinking her blood allows him to do this! Bah!
There are plenty of other things about the film that made it intensely amusing (and utterly, utterly crap), but if they’re really important I’ll write them down again later. For those who took part in the whole fiasco, it’s time to look back on this strange period in our lives and get all philosophical. Let’s face it – it’s highly unlikely something like this will happen ever again – so enjoy that moment of fame that we all had – when we sat amongst the stars (well, at least some minor celebrities) and for a moment the world spotlight was on us for a positive reason (as opposed to “Goth influences school shooting!”). I’d like you all to take up a glass, fill it to the brim with vodka (and maybe add a touch of lemon soda for taste) and toast with me to the fantastic, entertaining, nerve-wracking, mind-numbingly-boring, amusing and goth-filled spectacle that was the whole Queen Of The Damned experience. Now there’s only one thing to say, my friends:
“I vant to suck your bwud!”