In this article about Anne Rice, we got to briefly talk about Interview with the vampire. In particular, we analyzed the first episodes of the new AMC + Series Interview with the vampire. Know that the fifth episode of Sunday 23 October (A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart), has almost destroyed the Internet.
Simple. A single episode achieved what many showrunners fail to do over the span of an entire career. Destroy a product that had shown an ascending arc of improvement since the first episode.
The simplest answer would be: "of everything!". The simple answers, however, do not like anyone and therefore we try to understand in detail the magnitude of what happened.
Trigger warnings. Why not use them if they work?
The first thing that catches the eye at the opening of the episode is the lack of a precise trigger warning. He was instead present at the opening of the sixth episode (Like Angels put in Hell by God) where nothing happens that can justify it (Ed). While it is easy to understand how a too detailed warning can lead to spoilers, what is not understood is how, in a historical moment like the one we are experiencing, in which everything can be misunderstood and seen as a threat even when it is harmless. , one could think of feeding the spectator such an eventful episode without warning him.
It is a generational clash. On the one hand, the millennials and all those who grew up watching films and series without too many worries, on the other the GenZ and all those spectators who have grown hand in hand with the increasing attention towards audiovisual products and how these can be received by younger and sometimes more fragile minds.
The fact remains that in Sunday's episode the issues dealt with would have deserved at least a tip.
It doesn't help that in the comments at the end of the episode in question the creator rollin jones explained the scene with Claudia using these words:
What happens to Claudia is bad, but it makes her stronger.
Not very far from the utterances made at the end of the first episode.
We have a chance to have fun with race and sexuality.
Words that are perplexing given the delicacy of these arguments.
What then is the message?
While everyone knows, unfortunately, that suicide does not distinguish between gender, sex, age and social background, and it is therefore sadly logical that it can be a delicate and even harmful subject for everyone, what transpires is that domestic violence and rape are the sole prerogative of women and members of the LGBT + community and therefore almost taken for granted as something that is impossible to avoid?
It looks terrible once written in black and white, yet the spectator cannot shake off the doubt that this is precisely the reason for the different approach shown.
An outdated narrative that shows some writing limitations. Poor Interview with the vampire!
A further problem that is encountered in this episode is precisely that of an obsolete narrative that wants the woman who survives such a horrible attack to come out stronger.
Assuming that all women are different, one must also come to understand that not all react in the same way. Not only that, how a woman recovers from something so tragic and traumatic doesn't just depend on her, but also on what is around her. The environment cannot be ignored. A raped woman is above all a woman who has changed and never, one should measure the strength of a woman on the basis of the trauma suffered.
What is even more perplexing is the use of rape as the only one plot devices to define a female character and make him more sympathetic. A practice that is only apparently abandoned, but which in this episode returns overbearing, as if there was no other way for Claudia to evolve.
Claudia, since her first appearance is the perfect archetype of the tragic heroine inscribed in the genre Gothic.
In fact, there is no character more tragic than her in the entire chronicles. A mind that evolves and learns, imprisoned in the body of a little girl (at least in the series. Originally, Claudia is six NDR) that she wonders, desperate, that she will ever really love her.
Claudia evolves as time passes around her, leaving her unchanged. She becomes a woman without ever really being one. She feels desires that her body will never allow her to satisfy and if she does not realize it at first, she cannot ignore it forever, not having Louis and Lestat under the eyes of her who have an explicit sexual relationship. And yes, Claudia matures her hatred of her for Lestat, to the extent that she falls in love with Louis. Wasn't that enough to make her story arc creepy?
Why then force a character imprisoned in the wrong body to also endure the humiliation and trauma of rape? We wanted to add horror to horror and the result is disturbing, but in the wrong way.
Sadly, this shows that the writers who worked on the project don't have a clear idea of the canons of the genre Gothic Romance. And here I allow myself to open a little parenthesis before returning to the heart of the problem.
A sub-genre with its specific canons
The romantic gothic genre, which is what it belongs to Interview with the vampire and the other novels of Chronicles of Vampires, was born as a sub-genre of horror, this is true, but it does not share its canons, indeed with time it evolves so much to generate new ones.
It should be noted that neither the Gothic Romance in the'Horror Romance they guarantee a happy ending, which is the focal point of the genre romance. While, however, in the horror genre, the happy ending does not exist by its very nature, in Gothic there are still some possibilities. This point is worth keeping in mind for the end of our article.
The canon to follow when talking about Gothic Romance it is simple: a character, generally the female one, but not in this case, who realizes what he wants against what are the expectations of society.
This is why the love story behind Interview with the vampire, but a little in all Vampire Chronicles, belongs to the gothic genre and not the horror one because both Louis and Lestat are discovering what they want in contrast to what society and their different culture tell them they want.
Things get complicated when Lestat becomes the emblem of vampire society for Louis. That's all he knows and he has to follow the rules, but he soon realizes that he doesn't want to live by the rules that Lestat (society) imposes. This creates tension between them, a tension that Lestat tries to repair using Claudia. Decision that will lead to the alleged death of Lestat (collapse of the company in a first semblance of freedom). Claudia and Louis leave for Europe and this represents another cornerstone of the Gothic canon: the opening of the forbidden door behind which unspeakable secrets are hidden.
When Lestat returns, he becomes the ghost who opposes the opening of that door. A figure that can be understood as an antagonist, or as a protector. He may want to prevent the heroes from discovering the truth for a nefarious plan, or to protect them. When the door opens, the two vampires realize that they are not ready for what Lestat had warned them against.
European vampires are more dangerous, they cannot be trusted. They live in a secret and parallel society whose rules lead to Claudia's death. Armand and his “Theater” are a new external force that he tries to impose on Louis, who still doesn't know what he really wants, his rules and his way of life.
At the end of the book, which is Louis's journey, Louis finally understands what he wants and who he is. He has formed his own ideas about what he wants and how to get it and what he wants is Lestat.
Let's go back to the analysis of the series Interview with the vampire
What is presented to the viewer in the last five minutes of the episode is not only in open opposition to what happens in the books, but is also part of a different canon of genre.
The gratuitous violence shown by Lestat is more suited to a horror genre than to the gothic genre.
If it is true that at least in the first part of Interview with the vampire Lestat is a toxic character and with few positive sides, the narrative arc of the Chronicles is made of redemption not only but also through the relationship between Lestat and Louis that unravels for all thirteen books.
Lestat slaps Louis twice: once to prevent him from drinking blood already contaminated by death, and once during a fight that is exasperated by Claudia's presence and by the tension that has already formed within this tragic family that should never have been born.
Yet after decades, the two gradually come closer. They find points in common that they did not previously believe exist. They understand that they cannot spend every moment of their eternity together, but they know that they are destined for each other.
This type of redemption can only happen when two characters, however volatile and negative, do not cross certain thresholds that mark the point of no return. Point largely exceeded on the screen.
What we see is not a quarrel between two people on the same level. It is not an even match. It is not a conflict. It is pure torture. A man, evidently stronger who is relentless without any hesitation on someone who claims to love. Lestat does not stop while he unleashes a sadism that is hardly represented on television.
This is not the Lestat that readers have come to know. He is not a character who can be justified in any way, but above all he is not a character who can be redeemed. How this he can marry with their being Endgame in the books, and probably in the series as well, it's a mystery that won't be solved in the season finale (The Thing Lay Still) scheduled for November 6th.
If this wasn't enough to leave a bad taste in the mouth and raise questions about what kind of character this new Lestat is, it also adds to the fact that the two victims are the two most important black characters.
And again the fact that even the character of Louis is somehow guilty of what happens to him. For four episodes Louis denies with determination and anger that he has ever been a victim of Lestat.
- Let me guess. The young black man who falls in love with the older and richer white man. I've heard this story before.
- You weren't a partner. You had no power.
- I was not a victim.
Only to find out that yes, Louis was a victim. But is it really possible that a man who is defined as a God in the first episode, certainly by a character we still don't know anything about and about whom dozens of speculations have been made, could be a victim so unaware that he doesn't realize he is? Here we go far beyond simply denying even the obvious.
The Louis of the fifth episode denies his own character and to complete a picture that is not the best Daniel, who until now has so insisted on calling him a victim at every useful opportunity, reacts to an evident abuse of Louis, with further violence .
She dominates him, still seated, and slaps him, exactly as Lestat did in the book. An understandable reaction to the failure just committed by Louis who takes advantage of his power to accentuate the tremor of Daniel's hands, caused by Parkinson's, but which makes Louis a victim once again, of someone who has so far shown himself as if not a friend, at least one professional ready to accept his confessions.
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The episode was badly managed, both in terms of timing and themes. Remove characters from the canon of Interview with the vampire (here you will find the romance) of the other novels and confuses the canons of genre, perhaps hoping that no one among the spectators, or at least no one with the desire to highlight these anomalies, would realize it.
It is an episode that marks a limit. It's not hard to believe that many fans of Rice's work have not enjoyed and will not watch the final two episodes of the season. For a season that is meant to be just the first of a long series that will explore the entire Chronicles, it seems difficult today that Lestat and Louis could really be the same pair of lovers that they have been for the past fifty years.
If you feel like it and want to know what happens, the only thing to do is to keep looking, but if you accept an advice do not do it with too many hopes for a future repair that seems not only distant, but above all difficult to achieve.
To redeem Lestat once again, a plot twist would be needed that will put an end to all plot twists in history! A difficult goal to achieve, even in the light of what is written and directed.