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Queen of the Damned

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Directed by: 
Michael Rymer
Stuart Townshend
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Got a sense of humour? You'll certainly need it if you purchase this film.
This is one of the worst big-budgeted films EVER made. And I'd even heard a rumour somewhere that it's supposed to be semi-serious at times rather than what it really is - the funniest modern attempt at a vampire film that I have ever seen and probably ever will. It's hard to believe that $35 million could have been spent on something so poor. I saw this film in a shop offer and I ran the risk. It was a very big risk because I knew that the film had already been lambasted on this site by a colleague. I really shoulda paid heed to his sage-like advice. I almost kind of like this crap in the same way that I kind of like the badness that's called Exorcist II - The Heretic. Yep, it's so stupid, you can't stop laughing. In fact, it exceeds Exorcist II's expensive yet woeful levels by a very long way and steps into dangerous inner circle Hall Of Shame territories.
I picked up a decent film that I already wanted in a "2 for the price of 1" dvd offer. Hmmm, what to also choose? I already had many of the discs in the offer. The choice was between Dracula 2000/2001 (different title in the UK), Jeepers Creepers and Queen Of The Damned. I didn't like Jeepers and I also didn't like that Dracula flick so I made a bad call. In fact, it was probably the worst call made since Burke sent those unarmed settlers to investigate the Boneship on planet LV-426.
However, Queen Of The Damned makes me laugh so much that I may well be keeping it filed away on my comedy DVD shelf. To obtain full-comedic values from QOTD, you should watch it straight after Interview With The Vampire. Especially since Queen's packaging plainly states that it's "The sequel to Interview With The Vampire." That's what I did. (By the way, I have never read any of these Anne Rice novels. But that's okay 'cause I don't think that the makers of this film did either).
It's set in the current day. Lestat is stirred from a tomb by...a staid rock track being played by a bland rock group in his former house of residence. So Stuart Townsend's Lestat minces in for a good look-see whilst doing his very best Frank 'N' Furter from The Rocky Horror Show impersonation. The band look pretty funny! Especially the pierced and tattooed drummer with the shaved head who says "W..W..Who the hell are you man?!"
So Lestat explains with his best but poor non-Irish accent attempt, becomes the singer of the group and then a Lestat narrative tells us that he will seduce the world with his hypnotic voice. One problem though...even my dry farts sound more impressive than Lestat's singing. Next we're in the UK. Lestat Frank 'N' Furter, transsexual vampire, delivers this important and thought-provoking message to the whole world via a video screen at a press conference - "Come out, come out wherever you are, see you all in Death Valley."
Lestat's UK residence reminds me of the unconvincing sets on Doctor Who - I think it's the fireplace that does it. It's here that we see how the vampires move for the first time. Hmmm. How do you show vampires moving faster than the human eye would be able to see? Well, Interview managed it easily enough when Louis proved he was a vampire to the reporter. This time around, the vampires just traverse around on hidden wires at normal speeds whilst their entire body outline is blurred heavily by CGI. It does NOT make it look as if the vampires are moving quickly contrary to what the makers of this film mention on the disc extras. This feeble CGI effect is used LOADS all of the way through the film.
Reasons not to use it:
-It looks like a nasty and cheap digital effect that you might see being used just the one time on a kid's television show.
-It has the reverse effect to that intended. It actually makes the vampires appear to move really slowly.
-It looks incredibly stupid!
We're introduced to Jessie the American chick, an investigator at the Talamasca Center For Paranormal Studies in London. She's found a vampire coven and her boss has a copy of Lestat's old diary. The diary is read by Jessie. Cue the flashbacks of Lestat's creation and origin. These sections of the film remind me of how a decent BBC2 comedy might poke good fun at historical dramas or crap horror films. I laughed loud and heartily during these segments. The way that Lestat drops a man's life-less body on to the floor and the way that the vampire eyes sometimes light up bright yellow made me laugh the most. But the obvious sets, poor acting and line delivery were also making me chortle.
The investigative chick visits the vampire coven that's fronting as a "London Club." It does not look convincing! After an unlikely conversation takes place inside, three laughable vampires then blur their way over for a confrontation with Jessie outside the alleged club. Just after one vamp says "Now this will only hurt a little bit," Lestat dismisses those other limp vampires and finds himself being impressed with Jessie. Having survived that meeting, Jessie then follows Lestat to the US about half of the way through the film. Then we see lots more similarly blurry and 100 per cent unconvincing vampire activities and actions taking place for the rest of the picture.
One more stupid and annoying thing to mention - the way that the Vampires burn up when destroyed. It seems like an unimaginative Blade rip-off and the cartoony flame CGI used looks bloody awful! Watching Queen Of The Damned is like watching Bedknobs & Broomsticks. If it's not cartoony flames being used, then it's blurry vampires floating around instead. You shouldn't use CGI unless you're able to make it look much more impressive than it does here.
Oh yeah, Aaliyah, a now deceased pop star keeps popping up as Akasha, Queen Of The Damned. I know it's wrong to speak ill of the dead but what an absolutely shocking attempt at acting. It'd be embarrassing if it wasn't so darn funny! As for her big dancing scene, hey, why not just get her to perform one of her songs in the film? That would also seem like a cheap and very badly thought out minor pop star celebrity tie-in.
There is a tribute to Aaliyah on this disc. It sure ain't the film though! The Remembering Aaliyah featurette has a producer stating that she left "clear evidence of unlimited potential." In truth, this girl couldn't have acted her way out of a soggy paper bag. You get around half an hour of extras to watch and a commentary track where the participants are all in clear denial about the true nature of this picture.
So if you're up for a really good chuckle at a right stinker of a film, hire this one out. This film is to the vampire genre what The Dead Pool was to the Dirty Harry series. I seriously doubt that the Anne Rice novel came across like this.
If you fancy buying something that will genuinely thrill, excite, impress or intentionally entertain you...then please look elsewhere. Because this film hums. As do the acting performances, tepid direction and moronic production.
(Actually no, bollox to it, I'm not keeping this rubbish on my shelf, hilariously bad as it is. I'll be swapping it for something half-decent or maybe even quarter-decent next week. You see, "I bought it as a birthday present for my brother but unfortunetly he already had a copy. I need to swap it for something else.")

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