REVIEW: ‘Interview With The Vampire’ Episode 1 — “In Throes of Increasing Wonder”

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Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 - But Why Tho (1)

Based on Anne Rice’s iconic novel, Interview With The Vampire follows Louis de Pointe’s epic story of love, blood, and the perils of immortality, as told to the journalist Daniel Molloy. The series promises to be a dark and sumptuous retelling and with Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid at its center, it’s meeting that promise. Interview With The Vampire Episode 1, “In Throes of Increasing Wonder” is an expert beginning for Louis and Lestat, in all their love and chaos and dysfunction. It’s painful and intimate all at once.

I feel like a lot of horror fans can track their love vampires back to Anne Rice, or at least the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt adaptation of Louis and Lestat that came out in 1994. For me, Anne Rice opened up a world of desire and passion and vampires that was all underscored with balances of power and grief. So, when they announced a series adaptation for one of her most well-known novels, Interview With The Vampire, I was excited, if not slightly worried about if it would capture me the same way it did when I was a pre-teen. For me, this adaptation captures the magic and mystery I found when I started reading Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and began to look beyond the iconic film. It captures the depth, that while slow-moving in episode one, can showcase a story ready to pull you into its tide, slowly at first before crashing you on the rocks.

One of my concerns with casting a Black actor as Louis was the character’s place in Louisiana and of course what he and Lestat put New Orleans through and how it embodied the inherent privilege of being two white men feasting on those around them. That said, Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 understands the importance of casting to color and not colorblind casting. Louis, his family background, and how the world sees him have been adapted to tell the same story with new circumstances. Now set in 1910, Louis details how he gets by as a free Black man in a world not built for him or his success. Instead of ignoring race’s impact on the story, often an issue with Rice’s work even outside this casting decision, Interview With The Vampire embraces it, making the world feel complete in all its evils as much as its pleasures.

This is a critical feature of the series that helps make its adaptive changes perfect because they’re as dynamic and well-executed as they are different from the source material. This is an update to a world that I want to see span across the rest of the adaptations we’re set to get from Anne Rice’s Immortal Universe spamming up at AMC+. Additionally, we see family elements that make the audience attached to Louis’ human life that showcase his strength and his power in the world. He isn’t the dejected man we will come to see under Lestat’s thumb, he is commanding and his love of family and power is fierce.

This builds him up against Lestat, creating two forces that crash against each other from their very first meeting. Jacob Anderson as Louis is utter perfection. His eyes capture the torment and the fear that writhes beneath Louis’ beauty. His face is emotive from small mouth movements to nostril flares, but it all comes back to his stunning eyes. Louis is filled with disgust as he stares at the calm Lestat and this is where begins to see Anderson pull the whole of his character through the screen with his face alone. Putting up a wall against a sensual Lestat looking to court him to some unknown deed. This is a stunning dance between them that sets the tone for them. Lestat and Louis are a mirror to each other, they play off of each other, they build each other up before breaking each other down, and this duo is perfect on screen.

While I don’t think that Sam Reid carries equal power in his appearance on screen as Anderson does, his version of Lestat may not be as combative or arrogant, but he is sensual. His voice, the way he captures the room, and the way he speaks to and about Louis. Lestat’s voice is gripping and his body movements hold so much intention that every scene where he builds his relationship with Louis is captivating. I don’t think that this Lestat holds the same charisma upon first glance that you would expect, but in every interaction Reid makes you believe that he can actually capture you and eat you whole. This helps lend a slow unfolding attraction between our central pair.

Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 - But Why Tho (2)

Lestat’s desire for Louis is key to their relationship. Is it a lust to have power over a man he sees as successful against all odds? Or is it just a lust for a man he thinks is beautiful? The space where the two meet is where the magic happens just like in the source material. Lestat sees the sorrow in Louis and how the world has cast him into oppression and he wants to save him if only to control him.

Both Anderson and Reid as actors embody their characters best when they’re in deep emotion. Anger, disgust, admiration, and of course the brewing kinship between them. When the episode dives into sexuality, it’s done for narrative purposes, peeling away layers of who the men are with a woman at the center. She exists in the scene as a way for the two to begin to overtly explore a sexual pull between them that Louis isn’t comfortable with initially.

It’s a moment of pleasure and lust that beautifully captures the inherent queerness of Interview With The Vampire, in particular Louis and Lestat. In this intimate exchange we see how Louis and Lestat become one, and the complications with it. Physical intimacy is key to understanding their relationship and the way this series has thrown away subtext and brought it to the surface is fantastic in every way. This overt build-up of love makes the ending of Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 all the more painful. Louis’ breakdown is powerful and as he crashes into the ashes of his life, pulled apart by the one man he allowed close, Lestat grows in power and the table is set for the season.

Interview With The Vampire is beautiful in every way. The show’s production quality is astounding. It’s epic and sweeping and deeply intimate from scenes at a dinner table to beautiful shots of the New Orleans nightlife, and of course, the strife is there too, just underneath each and every scene’s surface. A romance-forward episode, it captures joy and life and love in Louis’ life that marks him as a full character and not Lestat’s toy, until well, he isn’t. There is a fantastic wealth of character building done in one episode and despite only featuring small moments to develop, its pacing is spot on to keep you invested for the second episode at the same time. 

The burning effects when the light hits vampire skin, the costuming, the set design, every single bit of Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 oozes charisma and care for the characters. This is an adaptation done with respect and reverence to Rice’s story and I wish she was here still to see a new generation become enthralled by her characters. Things are different sure, but this series is capturing the heart of not just the novel it’s based on but the entire series of novels it fits into. In one episode, Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 has locked me in my place. I want to sink deeper into the velvety world that Louis is recounting. This series is what I want as a fan of the Vampire Chronicles, what I want as a fan of horror, and what I needed as a fan of everything and everything vampire.

Interview With The Vampire is streaming now, exclusively on AMC+.


Interview With The Vampire Episode 1 — "In Throes of Increasing Wonder"
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    Rating - 10/10
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TL;DR

This is an adaptation done with respect and honor to Rice’s story and I wish she was here still to see a new generation become enthralled by her characters. In one episode, Interview With The Vampire has locked me in my place. I want to sink deeper into the velvety world that Louis is recounting. Interview With The Vampire is what I want as a fan of the Vampire Chronicles, what I want as a fan of horror, and what I needed as a fan of everything and everything vampire.

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