Sex, Blood and Rock 'n' Roll
Queen of the Damned
Review by Ross Anthony

Curious about this damned film, I decided to dabble out of my box of preferred genres. While, I wasn't prompted to flight, I certainly wasn't disappointed. From the first line "There comes a time in every vampire's life..." you might expect a "Rocky Horror" wannabe, and "Queen" does Queen of the Damnedhave that feel, it also has camp, heavy metal/punk, some cheesy computer effects, some impressive special effects, outstanding set design and costuming, and Aaliyah to pull all its sparkles through like a prism.

A rather interesting, brooding, lonely-in-eternity vampire named Lestat, decides forever is no fun. Breaking the vampire code of secrecy, he drops in on a punk/metal band one day and picks up the microphone - giving their music some vocals that you could really sink your teeth into. This stirs up some "bad blood" among all the other vamps that mingle with mortals only during feeding time. Of course, a plot line like this points in sharp fang fashion directly towards some huge mega concert in some huge open air venue (like say, "Death Valley") where all these winged enemies would attempt to oust the rebel vamp on stage. But, "Queen" weaves more vampy tales: an orphaned mortal girl is obsessed with Lestat and becoming a vampire, Lestat's maker also craves his attention. Selfish dark Lestat, seeks no loyalties, sucking the blood from the statue-frozen Queen of the damned (Aaliyah) - awakening her.

I'm certainly no expert on vamps, but why do they always have that corny accent? Though Townsound does a pretty decent job, I kept thinking a topnotch flawless actor could have taken this movie someplace really biting. Brad Pitt would have loved this role; yes, it's a campy film, but the character is rich and interesting: selfish, animalistically dangerous, lonely, sad, rebellious.

There is some fine dialogue, but we seem to always know that these people aren't vampires ... they're just acting like vampires. The film is at its best when no one's speaking, when the music creeps up decibel by decibel, distorted power chords, howling organs, mutant mortals spinning in slow-mo. In one rock solid moment, Aaliyah struts out of a burning pub just after eating some vamps heart, blood dripping from her lips, gold shimmering in her eyes ... that's awesome - topped only by her last blackened bend (no need for the dust). These two visuals will burn themselves into your brains. Absolutely gorgeous. Aaliyah is brilliantly visually stunning.

The actual fang-chomping also plays ferociously well.

So ... a rather masculine head-banging concert vein and a rather female subtle-love quadrilateral vein intertwine in this sensual, cinematically dominating, bloody heavy metal, monster movie with bisexual undertones. Sound fun to you? If you're in the right mood, a weak B+. I still think that prime actors (not that these actors were bad), cut out the camp, make the other half of the visuals as solid as its best ... and "Queen" would be one of the "damned" coolest films ever made.

  • Queen of the Damned. Copyright © 2002. Rated R.
  • Starring Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Lena Olin.
  • Directed by Michael Rymer.
  • Screenplay by Scott Abbot and Michael Petroni.
  • Based on "The Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice.
  • Produced by Jorge Saralegui at Village Roadshow/Warner Brothers.


Copyright © 2002. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:56:31 PDT