Queen of the Damned (2002)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Aaliyah is decent in the title role

Story is overloaded and anticlimactic

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Queen of the Damned

Studio:  Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  February 22, 2002

MPAA Rating:  R


Uh…why is this crazy lady dancing for us?

Lestat de Lioncourt (Stuart Townsend) has awoken from his slumber into a world he no longer recognizes.  Lestat however is a vampire who knows how to adapt and sees fortune in the music industry.  When Lestat “outs” the vampire society, he makes himself a target for all vampires.  A supernatural task group called Talamasca is also hunting Lestat, and researcher Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau) finds a tie to vampires through her past.  When the legendary Queen Akasha (Aaliyah) awakens and seeks out Lestat, she could unleash her evil on the world.


The movie might leave unmoved.

Directed by Michael Rymer, Queen of the Damned is an adaptation of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles second and third novels The Vampire Lestat (1985) and The Queen of the Damned (1988).  The movie is a follow-up to Interview with the Vampire from 1994, but none of the cast from the film returned.  The movie was met with high criticism from both Anne Rice and reviewers but still fared well at the box office.

Queen of the Damned as a real rush job.  Interview with the Vampire was a hit, but Warner Bros. was on the verge of losing the rights of the novels back to Anne Rice.  As a result, you Queen of the Damned…which didn’t have enough of either novel.


Hey, Lestat…not really feeling any chemistry here…

The story feels like a real hodgepodge of events.  The movie crams Lestat’s rise to fame as a musician, eliminates a ton of characters, and as a result feels like a mess.  With the success of Interview with the Vampire, I expected a strong follow-up (and a lot sooner than this film).  The movie just feels half-baked and despite some clever sequences never develops.

The cast does a bit better in this film than its script.  I think Townsend is maybe a bit more appropriate than Cruise as Lestat because he has that young, brashness to him.  Cruise was wanted for the sequel initially, but Townsend beat out Wes Bentley and Josh Hartnett for the role…Lestat’s singing voice was provided by Jonathan Davis of Korn.  Marguerite Moreau plays a rather weak love interest for Lestat and her aunt Maharaet is played by Lena Olin.  Antonio Banderas’ Armand was replaced by Matthew Newton.  The Eighth Doctor himself Paul McGann is part of the paranormal group Talamasca.


Akasha and her lapdog Lestat

The star of the film is Aaliyah however.  The singer and actress was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas shortly after the film was wrapped up.  Her character as a result became more tragic and received more focus than probably would have if she hadn’t died.  I do think she does a nice job with the hypnotic nature of the character which is rather light on acting.

The movie does have some interesting visuals, but also has some bad visuals.  I don’t really like the stutter fast movement visual often used (like in the attack on Akasha) but I do like some of the film’s atmosphere…it is a disappointment because it lost the gothic nature of the first film.

Queen of the Damned was a sad follow-up.  It showed potential at points but lost the artsy nature of the original film.  The movie missed the vampire boom created by Interview with the Vampire by coming too late and with too little.  I could see a relaunch of The Vampire Chronicles, but it probably wouldn’t be the best idea.

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Related Links:

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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