“You down with OPP (Yeah you know me)/
Who's down with OPP (Every last vampy)”
O.P.P. is an acronym penned by the lyrical stylings of Naughty By Nature. In 1991, this little head boppin’ beat referred to infidelity. My phat rhyme refers to a pair that is naughty, but not by nature—more like the supernatural.
They are the dysfunctional duo of death, the New O’lins Nosferatu and two beautiful bloodsuckers. They are the Original Pasty Pair: Louis and Lestat from Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
*Please note that I will be discussing the book here, not the movie. There are many differences between the screenplay and the novel, as with any adaptation. FYI, Anne Rice wrote the screenplay and made changes based on what she believed to be the best live-action interpretation of her bestselling novel.
The paranormal infatuation with vampires is centuries old. Myths, fables, legends, and poetry led to the mother of all vampire books, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). In the '60s and '70s there were those lovely Vampire Cult Horror Classics and the TV soap opera Dark Shadows. Stephen King explored vampires in the horror genre with Salem’s Lot, which came out in 1975. But Rice propelled the Vampire genre directly into mainstream literature with Interview with the Vampire, which was first published in 1976. The style in which its written is not conventional for its time—but then again, it isn’t a conventional story.
Interview with the Vampire is literally written as the play-by-play of an interview. The story opens in present-day San Francisco. The Vampire, as he is introduced, is intrigued by a young journalist, and instead of feeding on him, the Vampire decides to chat. He wants to tell the tale of his life—not the mortal one, but his existence as a vampire.
Louis, as he reveals to be his name, romantically sets the scene of his mortal downfall. The alluring Lestat finds him drunk and begging to be killed in the streets. Lestat uses Louis’ breaking point to turn him into a vampire and become Lestat’s companion. The fact that Louis is stinking rich with a house in which to take in Lestat’s dying father, a human, is an added bonus. Lestat is a gold-digger, plain and simple.
Louis detests Lestat immediately after he’s been changed. But he also knows he needs him in every way to adapt to this new life. A severely dysfunctional relationship can only come from one party killing the other and then making him a bloodsucking vampire.
Louis’ matter-of-fact way of speaking to the “boy” had me laughing out loud. This line especially, when the reporter is shocked at the description of how Louis was made:
“You mean . . . he sucked your blood?” the boy asked.
“Yes,” the Vampire laughed. “He sucked my blood. That is the way it’s done.”
Louis is an emotional wreck, and Lestat preys upon that to keep him close. Lestat basically pimp-slaps him every night by dangling human blood and murder under his nose. Louis refuses to kill humans to survive and kills animals instead. The story goes back and forth with all this Louis accepting who he is, a killer, and getting on with the business of enjoying the kill as much as Lestat.
When Louis can no longer take all the death and sadness, when he feels that last bit of his humanity slipping, he comes upon a little girl crying in front of her dead mother. Louis goes to comfort, trying to feel her plight, but his empathy floods over her in waves and lands on her neck. Yup, Louis feeds on a human for the first time in years and it’s a little girl.
Lestat finds him, laughs, and pats him on the back. Disgusted, Louis flees, unable to see himself as Lestat, a killer. Another scene unfolds in which Lestat torturously kills two women. Louis flees, hoping to break the cycle of abuse. We all know where the Lifetime movie is headed.
Lestat finds Louis, and they come upon the little girl in a hospital. Lestat makes her a little baby daughter vampire. This move keeps Louis as his companion. Louis is unable to leave her with Lestat. One big, happy bloodsucking family.
Great—you know anytime an abused spouse has a baby, she's trapped! Daddy will be happy for a while, then the cycle starts all over. And it does. Louis is a little like Farrah Fawcett from The Burning Bed. Claudia, aka Dracula Jr., is more like Chucky with fangs and curls. She likes to kill, a lot.
Eventually Claudia attempts to kill Lestat by drugging him, then cutting his throat. Like any good villain in a horror flick, he comes back. Louis tries to burn him. They flee, leaving Big Daddy Lestat to burn and much of their home in New Orleans goes up in smoke.
This really ends the relationship between Louis and Lestat. But Lestat isn’t dead, of course. He survived being extra crispy. Lestat catches up with the wifey and kid in France, but stays behind the scenes. He orchestrates Claudia’s death. Louis survives being sealed into a wall to starve by another Vamp who wants him as his companion. Louis is like, Thanks, but smell ya later.
The novel ends with Louis finding Lestat in present-day New Orleans, shriveled and decrepit, feeding on the animals he once scoffed at. He asks Louis to stay with him,but Louis politely refuses. The abused has the final say, hoorah!
Anne Rice portrays the emotional turmoil of these characters through Louis’ recollections. Lestat is a narcissistic, elitist, cold-blooded killer. But there are glimpses of the human side of him that made him into this monster. Claudia has the mind of a grown woman trapped in a child’s body; she is the little girl scorned. Finally, Louis is the hero who finally accepts who he is but longs for what he once was. He struggles with stripping away all his humanity and embracing his vampire nature.
There is not one love scene in this novel, but there are romantic undertones of love that supersede gender and sex. The relationships take place in the characters’ minds; through the act of drinking, killing, questioning the meaning of life, who they really are, and, more so, why they are.
If you really think about it, that’s what human relationships boil down to. Strip away the gender, the sex, and the core of it centers in the heart and mind. Anne Rice explored this type of love with Vampires from the 18th and 19th centuries. And did so beautifully.
Chemistry: A HA-CHA out of a full HA-CHA-CHA. They both loathed and needed each other—interesting mix.
Tension: 3 of out 3 PASTY MUSCLE KNOTS. You knew one of them was going to whack the other eventually.
Conclusion: 3 out of 3 WHAT THE WHATS. No sighs in this story; Louis refuses to be Lestat's companion again and the reporter goes to find Lestat.