By Holly Gordon
This evening I went to the Prince Charles cinema with my best friend to see the critically panned ‘Queen of the Damned’. Here are my thought and feelings on the film within a slightly condensed version of the Wikipedia plot – please read to the end, or you will miss my point.
The vampire Lestat is awakened by a heavy metal band and proceeds to take over as their lead singer (this was a bold move, and also introduced us to late 90s/early 00s goth fashion which I was 100% here for). They gain international success and whilst promoting his first and only live concert (he only performs via screen apparently, he’s THAT successful), Lestat, having revealed the existence of vampires, dares other vampires to come out and live among mortals. (Risky but, pretty hilarious to me that this was his method of getting attention of other vampires.)
Jesse Reeves, (distracted by how attractive she was at first) a researcher for the paranormal studies group, Talamasca, (based in London, as if???) is intrigued by Lestat’s lyrics after hearing one of his songs and tells the rest of the group her theory that he really is a vampire. Her mentor, David Talbot, takes her aside and tells her they know already and he was turned but a vampire called Marius (honestly, an iconic character). David shows her Lestat’s journal for her to read and it recalls how Marius turned Lestat into a vampire and how Lestat awoke Akasha, (played by Aalyiah!!! – How can a film be terrible when there is an Egyptian Vampire Queen in it?) the first vampire, with his music. Unsatisfied with what she read, Jesse tracks Lestat down to a London vampire club called The Admiral’s Arms (Forget Market House, this goth club is where we need to be on a Friday night), where he saves her from three vampires and confronts her about Marius.
In Los Angeles, Marius visits Lestat after 200 years (The dialogue in this scene was some of the best comedy writing I have ever watched. Perfectly deadpan.) and warns him that the other vampires will not tolerate his flamboyant public profile. He also reveals that Akasha has awakened due to Lestat’s new music and begs him to cancel his concert, which Lestat refuses. Meanwhile, Akasha, who is searching for Lestat, arrives at The Admiral’s Arms. (Honestly, one of the best film entrances ever – she pulled the heart out of a vampire and looked amazing whilst doing it. Her costume was insane.)
Jesse arrives at Los Angeles and gives Lestat his journal back. She then asks him to show her what being a vampire is like but Lestat scoffs at the idea. (Bit of a stupid question, but most female characters do this no matter how smart their jobs seem). Jesse, then convinces him to spend his last moments before the concert with her and the two spend time together, before Jesse later asks him to turn her, (how predictable) telling him she wants to be with him and that she wants to know everything he does. Lestat angrily refuses, showing her what it’s like for a vampire to feed on a human, then leaves. (I love a bit of dramatics!)
While performing at his concert in Death Valley, a group of vampires attack Lestat. (When the vampires fly, they look like they vibrate which makes this fight more comically and less serious). Marius and Lestat try to fend off most of the vampires, until Akasha bursts through the stage, taking Lestat with her.
Akasha brings Lestat to her new home, where the two vampires mutually feed on one another, (something I never needed to see or know) during which time Lestat becomes spellbound by Akasha and is forced to obey her, (oh the power of women!) and Akasha proclaims Lestat her new king.
After the concert, Jesse is taken to the home of her aunt, Maharet, who is revealed to be one of the Ancient Vampires (Gasp!). Knowing Akasha’s plan to take over the world, the Ancient Vampires (Costume talk here – one of them was wearing a sari whilst the others were wearing outfits that could have also been found on the set of Lord of the Rings. Explain?) discuss their plans to destroy the Queen by drinking from her and draining her of her blood.(A good old stab in the heart just won’t do I guess) However, they believe that whoever drinks the Queen’s last drop will not survive. (Ahhh, plot point – we can all bet who will die.)
Empowered by Akasha’s blood, Lestat and the Queen confront the Ancient Vampires. When they refuse to join her, Akasha then commands Lestat to kill Jesse, (I was shocked!) Lestat ostensibly obeys, but after drinking Jesse’s blood, comes to his senses (finally) and is released from Akasha’s power. He requests for his “crown” and Akasha openly gives him her arm to feed on (Bit of a step down from some cool head gear). Lestat then turns on her and begins to drain her blood and with the help of the Ancients, Akasha’s power diminishes. Maharet is the last to drink Akasha’s blood (you probably guessed this would happen), killing Akasha. Lestat goes to Jesse and, cradling her in his arms, gives her his blood as Maharet turns into a marble statue and “sleeps”, becoming the new Queen of the Damned. (Never expected this would happen at all!!!!)
Lestat and Jesse, who is now a vampire, visit David and return Lestat’s journal. When asked by David what it is like, Jesse jokingly offers to turn him into a vampire and bids David goodbye. The film closes with Lestat and Jesse walking hand in hand, among mortals, into the night. (This scene looked so like early 2000 music videos, it was wonderfully nostalgic – like Mad World by Gary Jules).
That was a lot of reading and I’d be surprised if anyone did read it. Even though I condensed the Wikipedia plot as I wrote my own comments, it still ended up way too long and over thought. It can also go the same way when writing a brief for an idea. We are encouraged to test our ideas in multiple ways, the sticky test being the main one. It allows us to test how well our idea works, but before an idea has even evolved into something visual, we have to see if we can explain it by using a post it note. Doing this is easier said than done but I also think it’s a test to know how good you’re idea is in the first place. Last week, I was advised to condensed my idea to fit onto a sticky note and I realised I couldn’t because there were too many points that needed to be said to explain the idea. Like a joke, if you need to explain it, then it’s a bad one. So, from now on I am going to try and test out my ideas with my partner so we can be confident that it works. Also because its good practise.
Here are my attempts to condense ‘The Queen of the Damned’ plot onto a post it note.
‘Dramatic vampire uses heavy metal to out other vampires.’
‘Twilight but a 2000 historic-comedy-horror’
‘The Mummy meets What We Do In The Shadows’
‘Shakespeare but everyone has fangs’.