The tragic death of a film’s star has often helped the box office draw. One only has to look at the openings of “The Crow” and “Brainstorm” following the death of their stars Brandon Lee and Natalie Wood. Hollywood is not always known for being a sensitive and understanding industry, so the recent release of “Queen of the Damned” has raised some eyebrows in film circles. For those who are not familiar with the story, the film is based on Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles,” which became the film “Interview with a Vampire”. The sequel picks up with the Vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend), who has awaken from a decades long sleep to become of all things, a rock musician. The film then flashes back in time to Lestat’s early years as a vampire and his training under his master Marius (Vincent Perez). During his training, Lestat learns about the Queen of the Damned named Akasha and discovers that she possessed absolute power, and like himself, a thirst not to hide her existence and true nature from the world.
If you are not confused yet, do not worry, it gets worse. There is also a scholar named Jesse (Margurite Moreau) who is like a vampire groupie and seeks to learn all she can from Lestat. Lestat also has his career to think about and a pending concert in Death Valley takes up most of his time. The fact that ever vampire on the planet wants to bleed him dry for exposing them and their secrets in his lyrics is of little concern to him.
What follows is an extremely boring and uninspired collection of scenes with little to no cohesion to them. The weak plot is made worse by acting that is stiffer then the corpses in the film and accents that seem to be inspired by Saturday morning cartoons. Further hindering the film is a total lack of chemistry amongst the cast and lines and deliveries that elicited groans from the audience at my screener. The tragic thing about this film is not that I had to sit through it; it is the way the filmmakers have decided to exploit the late singer Aaliyah in the films publicity. She is front and center on all adds for the film, but has less than 15 minutes of screen time. This has caused some outrage as the tagline “All She Wants Is Hell On Earth” is not in the best of taste regarding an individual who passed tragically and recently. The film had supposedly been sitting waiting to be released, and a direct to video release seemed likely. Sadly, it seems that someone thought they could make a buck by releasing one of Aaliyah’s last works and have given audiences a film that is insensitive to her passing and is easily one of the worst I have seen. Tom Cruise had the good sense to stay away from reprising his role of Lestat in this film, and audiences should demand this film be buried never to see the light of day again.