I was looking forward to watching the Interview with the Vampire series because I wanted to see if the creative team would explore the queerness from the source material. Fortunately, the premiere episode, titled ‘In Throes of Increasing Wonder’, made it very clear that yes, this is a queer vampire show!
Before I continue with my review, I would like to share that I’m someone who hasn’t read Anne Rice’s novel nor have I watched the 1994 film starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst except for a couple of random scenes on YouTube. So, I won’t be able to compare this TV series to what came before. In a sense I guess that worked, because I was able to judge the debut episode for what it was.
‘In Throes of Increasing Wonder’ opened with an aged Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) getting a surprise invitation. He’s the same character from the book and film. I liked how the current TV show was positioned as a continuation of its predecessors. The events in the novel happened. And the film happened. This show’s not taking anything away from fans of the source material and the live-action theatrical adaptation. It’s simply offering the next chapter, a new perspective, if you will, by allowing an older and wiser Daniel to meet Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacon Anderson) again.
While I’m not sure how such a change will be received by long-time fans of the IP, I found it to be quite an interesting way to retell an iconic story in modern times. Not only that, the show brought something fresh to the table by changing the timeline and certain backstories. Taking viewers back to 1910, the creative team reimagined Louis as a Black man in his early 30s working as a pimp in New Orleans. The racism during that time wasn’t ignored in the premiere episode. Things were made more difficult for Louis due to him being gay.
There’s sadness, guilt, anger, a sense of responsibility, and a longing for freedom inside Louis. There’s also his ability to love if only someone would allow him to give them that. Anderson did a good job of portraying such a layered character. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Louis from 1910 transformed into the Louis in the present.
I also liked Louis’ relationship with his brother Paul (Steven Norfleet) and how it linked to Louis’ relationship with religion, queer sexuality, and profession.
With Louis having so much to carry, I think it made sense for Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) to be attracted to him. From what I could tell, Lestat sensed a lot of potential and similarities inside Louis. Both men were outcasts and were hiding their true nature. Lestat wanted to offer Louis a way to be his true self, but of course, Lestat’s modus operandi was quite toxic. I loved it.
You could tell that Louis was being hunted by a monster like Lestat. However, in Lestat’s mind, he was simply courting Louis. The way Lestat continued to force himself into Louis’ life was well-written. As far as Lestat’s concerned, Louis belonged next to him. Louis was Lestat’s destiny, and that meant that anyone else Louis would go to for support or comfort needed to be taken off the board.
I do feel that Lestat would have continued to mess with Louis even if he hadn’t decided to ignore Lestat after their night of being intimate together (more on that later). It’s just that ignoring Lestat made the dangerous vampire execute his plan earlier.
As far as my opinion goes, I think Lestat was the reason Paul decided to take his own life. Paul was, in a way, Louis’ confidant. So, he had to go. I also think Lestat planted the seed in Louis’ mother’s mind to make her blame Louis for Paul’s death. And, of course, Lestat also got rid of Miss Lilly. The local priest’s days were numbered too. Lestat needed Louis to feel alone and abandoned to accept Lestat’s offer to become a vampire by the end of the episode.
The creative team was not joking during the promotional campaign when they shared how the latest adaptation was going to dive into Louis and Lestat’s queer relationship. Their first meeting was rife with admiration, sexual tension, and anger. The writing team did a great job of developing those feelings into something much more as the two men continued to get to know each other better.
The fact that we got a sexually intimate scene between the two in the very first episode was indeed surprising. As someone who knows about the queerbaiting that goes on in Hollywood, I was expecting the show to drag out the “will-they-won’t-they” situation. I was also expecting the writers to only show Lestat drinking Louis’ blood and paint said action as something vampires do due to their need to survive and it not meaning that Lestat had queer romantic feelings for Louis.
However, all of my concerns were for naught because Lestat and Louis were clearly shown to be in love, even if it wasn’t healthy. There’s a very sexy scene between the two, including them kissing each other. Their bond is physical as well as emotional.
As for the gore, be prepared for blood-filled vampire attacks. Lestat really made his feelings and supernatural power known to Louis during the scene in the church. Kudos to the creative team for how they portrayed what a vampire like Lestat was capable of doing. It will be very interesting to see Louis trying to fight his vampiric instincts and learning how to control his new abilities. The show’s only going to get bloodier down the line.
So, yes, if you were hoping for the latest Interview with the Vampire series to be queer, dangerous, and gory, your wish was granted. The show has already been renewed for a second season by AMC and I can’t wait to watch the next episode!
Some other thoughts and questions:
- While Louis’ house in the present was a bit ‘meh!’ to me, I really liked the detail that went into realizing New Orleans in 1910.
- The scene during the card game was just wow! I don’t understand all of Lestat’s telepathic and telekinetic powers, but he sure looks sexy using them.
- Points to Reid for switching seamlessly switching between a range of emotions while maintaining a sinister air. Even when Lestat’s acting like a spoilt brat or being romantic toward Louis, you can’t help but feel uncomfortable.
Take note: the premiere episode will debut on AMC come October 2, 2022. However, it’s currently available for early viewing if you have an AMC+ subscription.
What did you think of ‘In Throes of Increasing Wonder’? Are you a fan of the book and the film?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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