Anne Rice Interview with Vampire Series Premiere Recap

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Photo: Michele K. Short/AMC

Oh my god you guys. Buckle up and hold on to your ass ’cause we’re only one episode away and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is already my favorite thing on TV, but not for its particularly innovative premise or slick storytelling. The pilot, at least, promises a zany spectacle that combines the rhythm of The Vampire Diaries with the production value and ~adult content~ of true blood. High on camp and low on subtlety, Interview with the Vampire literally delivers everything I’ve ever wanted from a vampire show (Sex! Catholics! New Orleans! Mind control!) and doesn’t ask me for anything in return. I love it.

“In Throes of Crescent Wonder…” reintroduces audiences to the original’s core premise – a reporter interviews a vampire – before immediately branching off into its own thing. We begin in the present day, where our grizzled and aging journalist Dan Molloy watches his own Journalism MasterClass, 50 years after he first interviewed Louis de Pointe du Lac. This portrait of a depressed man in the twilight of his career who leaps at the invitation to redo the interview of his life, damn it, did not prepare me for the change in tone as soon as Louis (played with precision perfect by game of thrones‘s Jacob Anderson), begins to tell his story.

“You have to let the story pull you in,” Louis tells Molloy at one point, a line whose melodrama is matched only by its delivery. I am ready to be seduced.

Here we go ! It’s 1910 New Orleans, where Louis is a wealthy man’s favorite son but makes a living as the owner of a brothel. No respectable company would have him, he explains, because wealthy family or not, he’s a black man living in turn-of-the-century Louisiana. The working life of the human Louis is depicted through a rapid succession of increasingly savage outbursts in a single evening: he is first called in to attend to a client using N-words who has been punched at head and shit by a sex worker, then is interrupted to deal with a Bible-wielding fanatic harassing the employees, who turns out to be his brother, who refuses to leave and punches Louis in the face, causing Louis to pull an absolutely huge knife and to hold it around his brother’s neck so as not to be emasculated in those mean streets of New Orleans. And we haven’t even gotten to the vampire part yet.

Notably, Interview with the Vampire offers a refreshing portrayal of an upper-class Southern black family that counters popular stereotypes of black America at the time. Hopefully the future episode will tap into that vein more (no pun intended), as the premiere doesn’t spend a lot of time with Louis debating his (actually much-loved) brother Paul, his sister Grace, and his mother over matters like than Catholicism, morality, or including slave traditions like jumping the broom at Grace’s upcoming wedding. There’s a lot to explore for the show, but we still have to come to the bloodsucking and sex.

We are finally introduced to a very French, very blond Lestat when Louis visits a rival brothel, where he is enraged to find the man having a drink with Louis’ girlfriend/sex worker, Miss Lily. The current vampire Louis recounts that he is furious with Lestat but has been rendered powerless to move. Louis is both repelled by the unknown and attracted to it. You know where this is going. Lestat soon begins, to use Louis’s word, to “hunt” him.

The following seduction sequence, in which Lestat ingratiates himself to Louis by lamenting this country’s racism and taking him on dates at the opera, is also where we learn the vampire tricks, because each vampire universe has its own vision of magical powers. endow the living dead. In Interview with the Vampire, Lestat can communicate telepathically, can temporarily stop time to help Louis cheat at cards, and seems to have some sort of supernatural personal magnetism — all pretty standard vampire fare. But there’s also another vampire power I’m finally ready to talk about – levitating orgasm.

Friends, we’ve reached the gay part, which unfortunately coincides with the dumbest part of the episode. If there was any doubt left as to what type of show this is, an ecstatic sexual climax lit from a few feet in the air pretty much did me. Two seconds ago it was a very hot threesome scene, featuring Miss Lily’s freshly painted nipples. lying on a sofa between our two male protagonists. Louis hits Lestat with the run-and-kiss, shirtless men are thrown against the wall, even the gross blood-sucking part kind of worked for me until liftoff. How can I not laugh at this? Lestat is doing Louis standing up when suddenly we see their bare feet start to leave the carpet because it’s an orgasm so good that their bodies literally leave the ground. It was awkward when they did buffy. It’s crazier than Edward Cullen breaking the headboard. It’s so goofy. Still, I admire commitment. This show gives even the most hacki of vampire tropes full indulgence.

But we have to move on, because we still have a wedding, a tap break, several mysterious deaths, a suicide, a funeral, and a makeover to go through.

Lestat’s character’s only motivation so far seems to be Louis, which is fair enough. Louis is telling the story, after all. Louis has a lot more to do internally. Torn between his repressed homosexuality (or, as he pronounces it for some reason, “Hamasexuality”), his position as an underworld business leader in a racist society, and his love for his family, he decides to leave Lestat head-on. But Louis’ vampiric sobriety doesn’t last long after Grace’s wedding – where the whole family seems completely happy for the last time. Paul’s religiosity has been loosely attributed to nonspecific mental illness, and the day after the wedding, it reaches resolution in the penultimate WTF moment of this pilot turducken. The brothers watch the sunrise from the roof of their mansion, and suddenly Paul says to Louis, “I love you” and jumps off, landing dead on the sidewalk with blood pouring around his head.

Devastated, Louis is now exceptionally responsive to Lestat’s psychic summons during Paul’s funeral, which was conveniently timed after dark. Mom chooses to blame Louis for Paul’s suicide (a plot I don’t like at all) and disowning him is the last straw. Louis first tries the brothel, where he learns that Miss Lily died of this “mysterious fever” – read: vampires – as Lestat’s face saying “come to me” in French temporarily appears. Afterwards, Louis runs to the priest, knocking on the church doors in the middle of the night as the rain runs down his face. In the confessional, place of the most epic monologues of the cinema, Louis confesses: “I slept with a man! I slept with the devil! You think with emotion and thunder and Catholicism it can’t get more dramatic and then phew! The priest is torn away and Louis rushes to find him devoured by Lestat, surrounded by pews suddenly engulfed in flames. (Looks like vampires are allowed into churches in this universe!)

Honestly, this scene is everything. Louis tries to kill Lestat with his large knife and/or his small sword and Lestat gets up and begins to monologue. Do I need the classic horror movie music to set the tone? Did I need Lestat to chase a second priest in slow motion and stab him through the skull? Absolutely not. Do I love him ? With all my heart. Lestat’s speech to Louis boils down to: “This world sucks, doesn’t it? But I love you and your beautiful face so let’s commit crimes. Louis’ voiceover says he doesn’t know what was so compelling about that argument because he hasn’t heard of love-bombing, but either way, it works. They kiss and then drink each other’s blood right under the crucifix. dun dun not! It’s a vampire show.

I’m so excited for next week, my friends.

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