Queen of the Damned
Maybe in a few years, when the memory of Aaliyah’s plane-crash death is not so fresh, Queen of the Damned won’t feel so ghoulish. Maybe in a few years the incoherent gaudiness of this underperforming sequel to ”Interview With A Vampire” (adapted from ”The Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice) will have transmuted into a kind of appreciable camp. Until that time, however, we’re stuck with this damned production, in which the late pop star (21 years old at the time) plays Akasha, an ancient but eternally youthful-looking, green-eyed vampire queen who’s been waiting for the right moment to break out of her crypt and party hearty on Earth.
What gets her undead blood pulsing, apparently, is the sexy rock-star lures of the Vampire Lestat, pop literature’s reigning bloodsucker, who, having originally been played with a modicum of charisma by Tom Cruise, is now filled out by Stuart Townsend, a far less compelling, mannequin-like British actor. (His previous hard-breathing attempt at smoldering was opposite Kate Hudson in the dull romantic comedy ”About Adam.”) There’s an astute joke in the notion of a modern-day rock star who’s also a bloodsucker, and about the ritualistic aspects of fandom frenzy. But Australian director Michael Rymer doesn’t trust laughs — and doesn’t conjure proper respect for followers of the whole dead-undead genre, who deserve more from a vampire pic than a few shrieky special effects.