Book Review Travel

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

vampires don't count as supernatural horror because they're too sexy aha

April 20th, 8pm, high speed train from Florence to Venice

sexually explicit content below

I *love* vampires. What can I say? I can’t pretend otherwise any more.

I love their cruelty, their sexiness, I love their nocturnal lifestyles and their pursuit of pleasure and sensuality as a priority, I love the ways in which vampire mythologies, if anything, uphold a progressive and realistic reposte to repressive orthodoxies: even with the potential of an eternity ahead of the self, the joys of visceral immediacy are those of prime importance.

The Protestant urge to work work work is nowhere to be seen: vampires feast, vampires fuck, and that’s basically all that matters because that’s basically all there is.

Are vampires inherently Catholic?

Transubstantiation as reality?

If one will drink the blood of Christ, surely one will drink the blood of others?

Oral sex involves consumption of bodily fluid (including blood, most frequently (in my experience) as a result of menstruation, but I’m the most sexually repressed person I know and I’ve definitely had my injured, over-fucked, cock in another’s mouth, so blood as the result of injury must happen quite a bit, too, right?), and the idea of being anti-oral sex sounds absurdly prudish, so in many ways aren’t almost all of us little vampires?

A surprising quantity of people living above the poverty line continue to voluntarily include the flesh (and therefore blood) of animals (both farm-reared and wild) in their diets, so a massive majority of people, globally, are little vampires twice over. And as I imagine there is a very firm overlap between anti-oral weirdos and obsessive meat-consumers, we basically have every human covered one of these two ways.

What, then, is the difference between the unrestrained, unrepentant vampiric urge to sup on the blood of humans compared to the standard, normalised, human need to fuck and eat?

Vampires are us without shame (we think), vampires are us as we (repressed but hating it) would wish to be.

It is both odd, then, and not odd, that the most prominent vampire fictions from the last few decades include vampires who are doing as much as they can to avoid violence and murder, while still needing human blood to exist?

It’s there in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles (at least in this one, the first book in her decades-running series), it’s there in True Blood (omg i love it), and I presume it’s there in Twilight, but I’ve never read/watched that as I am under the (perhaps wrong!) impression that it’s weird evangelical American-Christian allegory, and they hate any kind of fun that doesn’t involve directly undermining efforts to improve the lives of women and/or other people they don’t like.

Anne Rice, I discovered when she died, was also a bit of an ‘evangelical’ from time to time, somehow jumping between famously horny vampire novels and then shame-drenched Bible fan-fiction when she felt she had to rebalance her scales.

So, yes, Interview with the Vampire is a horny novel, absolutely, though the quote on the blurb describing it as “unrelentingly erotic” was, sadly, unrelentingly hyperbolic.

I’ve never seen the 1994 film based on the novel, though I definitely listened to the pointless Guns N’ Roses cover of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ it featured many times as a teen. I know the film is filled with gorgeous actors (as all films should be, right, unless they’re explicitly about characters who aren’t beautiful and that’s a plot point – if the plot of the film could conceivably happen to someone hot, there is no reason for a hot person to be cast to play them: we don’t need “character actors”, we need talented beautiful people – and thank Lestat we have them!), but I don’t know any more than that. In fact, other than knowing this was a famous and sexy book about vampires, I went into Interview with the Vampire basically spoiler-free which, as I’ve definitely said before, is often an asset when trying to enjoy something with popular success (because most people are fools and many (most?) bestsellers have strong plots and little (nothing?) else), but would have been unnecessary here.

I guessed that someone would be interviewing a vampire (there’s a clue in the title), I guessed it would be set largely in America (there’s a clue in that it’s written by an American and doesn’t have another place or recognisable foreign word in the title), and I guessed that there would be some kind of strife, some kind of conflict, some kind of strong resolution but also nothing too violent, as there are loads (fifteen? More?) sequels, and that would be hard to make happen if all of the main characters were definitely dead at the end.

I enjoyed it, and I’m going to do you the favour of allowing you – if you can – to enjoy it without plot knowledge, too.

Would I have liked it to be more horny? Yes, of course, there is no such thing as a “too horny” book. (Please comment below if you can think of an example!)

Would I have liked it to be set more in the present day (like True Blood) rather than in the past (like Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula)? Yes, of course, but only because it would have made it more like True Blood, a perfect (flawed) masterpiece.

Will I read more of Anne Rice’s vampire novels? Yes, definitely, yes.

And that intention to reinvest in a writer’s work is the ultimate Triumph of the Now compliment: I liked it so much I want more of it, the same, more of it – and soon.

A perfect holiday read. (I am on holiday, see below for evidence)

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