Queen of the Damned

Skeeping DogRated: R
Stars:    Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Lena Olin, Paul McGann
Director:   Michael Rymer
Writers:   Scott Abbott, Michael Petroni. Based on the book The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

So much was made of the late singer-actress Aaliyah being in this film, yet I can’t think why. Frankly, her fans would get a better taste of her talent by renting Romeo Must Die in which she actually had a credible role in a decent film.

As for Queen of the Damned, the film is a drag. This new Vampire Lestat tale belongs in the dead files, literally.

After sleeping 200 years because he didn’t like what he saw of the world around him, Lestat (this time played by Stuart Townsend) wakens to a new world of rock music and punk fashions. He fits right in when he takes on the role of lead singer of a band, rocketing himself to stardom. In the process, he manages to tick off the vampire kingdom because Lestat has come out of the casket and proclaimed to the world that he is indeed a vampire. Granted, most everybody thinks its a neat gag but there are believers. Among them, pretty Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) who happens to be a vampire researcher at a London institute. It’s made clear early on that she has an affinity for them; later we discover that she was orphaned and taken in by a kindly vampire lady named Maharet (Lena Olin) who believes that vampires and humans can co-exist. Sure, one’s the hunter and one’s the prey. She quickly becomes obsessed with Lestat and having had access to his original lost journal of his thoughts and dreams through the centuries helps in getting him under her skin.

In any case, Lestat is having a good old time, playing loud lousy music and munching on some teenage chicks now and then. Then he gets a visit from his old pal Marius, the one who is credited with having turned Lestat into a vampire. Marius warns Lestat that by coming out in the open with his affliction, he will suffer the wrath of all the other vampires who keep to the code and stay in the shadows.

Well, it’s taken the same 200 years for a Queen vampire known as Akasha (Aaliyah), ruler of ancient Egypt and one whom Lestat partially met way back when (she was a statue then), to break her mold and come back to the world of the living. Akasha is so powerful, a mere glance from her can set turn you to cinders and she can stand to walk amidst the sunlight. Now she’s come for Lestat to help her rule the world. But first, the two must deal with their less ambitious associates.

Lotta says: There’s much silliness and little fright. Aaliyah slithers around like a snake in Cleopatra fashions and sporting a weak Bela Legosi-type accent. Stuart Townsend fairs somewhat better and Lena Olin does well with her small role. Otherwise there’s just a lot of noise, smoke and fire with not much substance. The best scene takes place at a gypsy camp in a flashback sequence between Lestat and Marius. Queen of the Damned is downright boring.