Queen of the Damned
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Scott Abbott and Michael Petroni from "The Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice
Starring Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah


Queen of the Damned

Where's Jerry Lee Lewis when we need him? He could have sung "Whole Lotta Suckin' Goin' On" in this vampire film made from the Anne Rice story, which would at least have been better than the heavy-metal-cum-pseudo-rap music that fills out the so-called action in "Queen of the Damned." The low-rent Lestat here, Stuart Townsend, has neither the presence nor the sex appeal of Tom Cruise, his predecessor. We can't blame him, though; the script is muddled and pointless, with story upon story set pancake-like one upon another, until we just sit numbed by it all.

For some reason the filmmakers thought that the singer Aaliyah - playing Akasha, Queen of the - well, you know - would help the film. Instead, all she does is stand around like a statue, which in fact she is for the first third of the film. When she does speak she talks like a junior high school production of 'Dracula,' in a kind of Transylvanian monotone. The plot, which I had a hard time unscrambling so don't blame me if I got it wrong, has to do with Akasha as the immortal mother of the vampire Marius (Vincent Perez), who sucked Lestat's blood sometime in the 18th century and became his mentor - though I believe she may also have been Lestat's mother as well. Lestat now fronts a heavy-metal band called, of course, Lestat and the Vampires. Meanwhile, young paranormal researcher Jesse (Marguerite Moreau) gets hold of Lestat's journal, reads 200 years' worth of entries, and decides to confront him and maybe even join him.

Okay; enough with the plot. Is there nothing to salvage here? Yes, as it happens. The special visual effects, particularly the way in which the vampires' enemies are disposed of by fire, are excellent; and the sound effects and sound editing enhance the visual effects enormously. Is there anything else? Unfortunately not.