As Frock Flicks’ resident ElderGoth, I’m contractually required to watch the new AMC series adaption of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. So I’m dragging y’all along with me every other Tuesday!
Episode 5, “A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart”
This episode opens with Louis, present day, having a snack on his familiar Rashid, while Daniel continues to read Claudia’s diaries. He skims through 42 pages of the final words of her victims. Daniel sees Claudia as a remorseless serial killer in spite of Louis’ paternal affection.
Back to the 1920s, we pick up with Louis worried because Claudia is supposedly on a ‘hunger strike.’ He thinks she’s hiding out in her coffin, avoiding him and Lestat because she’s angry at them. Lestat is less concerned because he’s seen her ‘dining out.’ He opens her coffin and finds Claudia isn’t here, but her diaries are. Lestat reads, mocking her words, that she’ll always be a virgin and that she mentions here hair growing back when she cuts it.
After killing an old man, Claudia comes home and sees her privacy has been invaded. Like any teenager, she’s outraged. Lestat is concerned about what she did with the bodies and Louis is distraught over her “hurtful words for your guardians.” She screams, “I hate you both, get out of my room!”
Dresses and blouses with this bow neckline (attached or separate) were popular throughout the 1920s and could be made dressy or casual. For example:
Lestat warns her that she can’t bury the bodies below the river line because they’ll just rise in the next storm (this is why New Orleans has above-ground cemeteries). And the storm comes in the next scene with all Claudia’s corpses.
During that rainy night in the French Quarter, Louis and Lestat are schmoozing with the chief of police and a politician at a speakeasy. He’s angling for their votes and talking about some 56 corpses floating around lately. Each one had some soft part cut off like a finger or a toe.
Back at home, they find cops rummaging around because a few citizens have gone missing. Claudia appears drunk and wild. She runs up to her room, and it’s filled with severed toes and fingers and even a dying body. She’s been keeping souvenirs.
Reminiscent of these:
Lestat tries to talk away the cops, and Louis name-drops the chief of police. But the cops don’t like what they see and threaten both child protective services and a “crimes against nature” citation. When they’re gone, the vampire family has another big argument.
Claudia complains, “Who am I supposed to love? You two have each other. What human will love me? Perverts? Little boys? And 40 years from now, still little boys? Which one of you are gonna fuck me?” To her plaintive cries, Lestat makes a mean joke.
Claudia packs a bag to leave. Louis follows her, and she asks why he didn’t take her to a hospital so she could live. Maybe she’d have a life and a husband and children by now. He has no excuse. All vampires are born out of trauma.
Daniel says: “She makes you and Frenchie look like a couple of whiney existential queens.” Well sure, like that’s a bad thing?
There’s a bitter coffin bedtime scene where Louis and Lestat briefly consider moving briefly, but nothing appeals. They feel trapped. They’re stuck in a hell of their own making. Louis ruminates: “There would be no roaring ’20s for us. We would be underground for seven years.” Not literally underneath the ground, but in hiding, with no more of the luxurious high life or living out in the world. Louis walks alone, revisiting old haunts, calling Claudia’s name telepathically, but he can’t hear her thoughts.
She’s out in the world thought. Claudia’s at a university, where she’s accosted by a student, and she tells him she’s the daughter of cleaning woman. They’re noticed by a guy on a motorcycle … turns out he’s a vampire.
Claudia’s got a great college kid look with that sweater vest. They were popular with both women and men, like this unisex knitting pattern:
Bruce is something of a cliched tough guy with his leather jacket and cap on his motorcycle. At least it’s an appropriate period style.
In New Orleans, the Great Depression has crashed outside and inside Louis has his own depression. Their house is filthy. Louis spends his time reading philosophy and eating rats, while Lestat is bored and swears in French.
The new vampire, Bruce, and Claudia, burn the remains of their college student victim. He shares his backstory, and they joke about starting a “fang gang.” It almost looks like Claudia could have a real vampire boyfriend, but he gets too close too fast. Then he smacks her and starts lecturing her. Something terrible happens…
Daniel notices four pages of her diary are torn out at this point. Louis says he removed them because he didn’t want Claudia exploited. They argue, and Louis forces a Parkinson’s fit on Daniel, who slaps Louis in return.
Back in New Orleans, Louis reads in the newspaper of a series of mysterious deaths at universities and realizes that’s Claudia. Lestat is annoyed that his lover is obsessing over the lost child when he, Lestat, is right there and being ignored. So he leaves.
Louis gets a phone call from his sister. They meet in the cemetery, and she says her family is headed north, near Boston, because the 1929 crash wiped them out. She doesn’t want money from Louis. He’s no longer the brother she knew, that person is dead, so much so that she’s buried him.
The series’ costume designer, Carol Cutshall, has started posting behind-the-scenes photos and images from her research on Instagram, and it’s wonderful. For this scene, she posted this photo and said:
“Research anchors the design. It is one of the most rewarding parts of the process. Finding this 1930 image of Oscar and Jessie DePriest solidified this moment for us all. Oscar served as the first Black Congressman from a Northern State, elected in Illinois’ first district in 1929. He was the only voice in Congress for 12 million Black Americans. The year before this photo Jessie DePriest accepted First Lady Lou Hoover’s invitation to attend the traditional White House tea for congressional wives, during Jim Crow. We were looking for strength and we found it.”
Check her out at @carolcutshall
Claudia watches the whole meeting and finally understands why they made her — she’s meant to be Louis’ sister. She returns to their home, much to Louis’ joy.
Lestat is less pleased to see “the prodigal daughter.” Claudia offers an apology, and Lestat does not accept. She tells how she’s read about vampires in the university libraries, she’s read about the “old ones who craved blood.” This is clearly a reference to Akasha and Enkil, and the origin of vampires as outlined in Queen of the Damned. Claudia plans to travel and find out more about vampires. She came back to get Louis as a traveling companion.
However, Lestat laughs at her ideas. He says the vampires out there are vicious — “Oh, but you’ve learned that already,” picking up on her experience with Bruce. Louis defends Claudia, and Lestat fights over Louis and then starts beating on Louis because he wants to be with Claudia. She begs him to stop. Louis tells Claudia to stay where she is as Lestat tears up the house and drags a bloody Louis down the street.
Lestat is jealous of Claudia. He loves Louis and wants Louis all to himself, so much so that he’d practically kill him. He flies in the air with Louis, saying: “I’ve waited patiently in vain for you to love me as I love you. Say it, ‘Lestat I am never going to love you.’ It would help me a great deal to hear that from your lips, your quivering hateful lips.” As horrible as this whole abusive scene was, this line was heartbreaking to me for the unrequited love he expressed. He did everything for his lover and feels like he’s being abandoned. Lestat drops Louis from the sky, and Claudia runs to his broken body in the courtyard.
This episode is brutal and brutally honest about what vampires are. Claudia is a reckless ball of childish unfulfilled desires and needs that will never be fulfilled, no matter how much she blood she drinks. Louis craves human connection and is forever cut off from it. Lestat has evolved into the mature vampire who kills for sport and seeks an exclusive love from his own kind — but he only knows how to love greedily, violently, rapaciously, like he drinks blood, because he’s far enough away from his human past. They’re each doomed in their own special ways, and because they’re linked by blood, they inflict their doom on each other.
In addition to the costume designer’s Instagram, Bailey Bass, who plays Claudia, as a vlog series on YouTube where she shows lots of behind-the-scenes details of costume, makeup, and special effects. She is absolutely delightful off-screen, as much as she’s a fantastic actor onscreen.
Episode 6, “Like Angels Put in Hell by God”
Louis catalogs his wounds and the two months of pain he spent while Claudia nursed him back to a semblance of vampiric health. He explains to Daniel that flying is called ‘The Cloud Gift’ and not all vampires have it, only the most ancient. In Anne Rice’s novels, I don’t think Lestat can fly until after he drinks the blood of Akasha, Queen of the Damned. So the explanation is correct but why Lestat can fly when he’s barely 200 years old isn’t quite right.
Back in 1930, Lestat had disappeared after that fight. Claudia tidies up their house while Louis recuperates.
The phone rings, but they don’t answer. The doorbell rings, and Claudia finally answers. It’s Lestat, with an expensive gift for Louis. Claudia says nobody wants to speak with him. And Louis drops Lestat’s coffin out the window and on the street at him.
Louis and Claudia walk through the city, and Lestat finds them. He’s upped the gift and has bought a Rolls Royce for them.
Sportswear was a new and fashionable category of clothing that became popular in the ’20s and ’30s. Knit tops like that were worn for golf and tennis and other casual activities. Compare with:
It’s been three years since the fight, and Lestat says he’s changed. “I’m nothin without you.” He hastily adds, “Without both of you.” He just wants Louis, he doesn’t really care for Claudia.
Claudia throws the car keys away.
They have six years of Lestat trying to make up and getting rejected. Louis says: “We burned more gifts than bodies.” Until, in spring 1937, one gift broke through. Lestat sends a record titled, “Come to Me. He played all the instruments on the song and pressed only the one album and had the master destroyed. Present-day Louis plays it for Daniel, and Lestat’s voice is singing. But in 1937, a woman’s voice is singing.
Louis swims the Mississippi River to get to Lestat, and finds him in bed with Antoinette — who’s the one singing on the record. Louis is angry. They fight but also make up. As he says to Daniel, “The vampire bond, there is no human equivalent.”
Louis and Claudia allow Lestat back into their home and life, but with a series of rules. Lestat must kill Antoinette for starters. He also has to treat Claudia as a sister, not a child — she’s 33 years old at this point. Claudia also asks who made Lestat, and he gives the story about Magnus, which is the same as in the novels.
Their years in New Orleans were catching up with them, and they were getting noticed. People leave signs and things at their doorstep marking the house as cursed, evil.
The print on her dress is typical of the 1930s. Compare with this catalog:
The three of them sit on a bench in front of Saint Louis Cathedral and argue amongst themselves. At home, Louis tries to get first Claudia and then Lestat to compromise with the other one.
Lestat comes back with a bloody finger wrapped in a newspaper mentioning a singer’s death. They’re glad he kept his word and killed Antoinette.
Lestat is ‘teaching’ Claudia to play chess, and they argue relentlessly.
She pointedly asks about his first love Nicky — accurate plot points of Lestat’s background from the novels.
Telepathically, Claudia talks to Louis and mocks Lestat as “massa.” She perfectly expresses the racial undertones here, feeling that Lestat has power over them that she resists and despises, while Louis can’t.
Lestat goes off to a hotel where he’s hidden Antoinette, who’s only dead to the world. She wants to go away to Los Angeles and start an acting career. He refuses to leave New Orleans.
Claudia and Lestat followed Lestat and everything. They aren’t surprised. Louis says that Lestat wanted them to discover her because Lestat is all kinds of fucked up. Accurate!
These blouse and skirt outfits she wears are so simple and so right for the period. Not flashy, just good everyday clothes.
In her coffin, Claudia telepathically talks to Louis suggests they go away to Europe. While Louis is having sex with Lestat. Talk about conflicted interests!
Another night in front of front of Saint Louis Cathedral. Only Louis and Claudia talk telepathically. Lestat leaves to hunt.
Claudia says she’s going to leave town on a train right now. She begs Louis to join her, but he can’t. They hug. She hides away in the luggage compartment of a train because in 1939, “the only negro allowed in first class was the porter.”
Louis lingers almost until sunrise at the Cathedral, and then returns home, “back to the undeserving Lestat.” The radio is on, saying that Germany has invaded Poland. Lestat comments that he’s glad our sister decided to postphone her holiday in Europe.
What happened was that Lestat followed her and brought her back for Louis. He’d also heard telepathically from Bruce what happened to Claudia, because Lestat is a shit and taunted her with that.
So back to chess games.
Claudia makes her move on the chessboard while telepathically telling Louis that Lestat has made them into his slaves.
She tells Louis that she’s going to kill Lestat.
The present-day interview wraps up because Daniel has fallen asleep after taking his Parkinson’s medication. He dreams of or we get a flashback to when Daniel and Louis first met in 1970s San Francisco.
I’d originally thought there were eight episodes in season one, but looks like there’s just one left! So check back in two weeks for the finale recap.
What did you think about these penultimate episodes of Interview With the Vampire?