They are flesh and blood, but not human. Probably haven’t been human for hundreds of years. Some might call it being born into darkness. For a little girl who has lost her parents to the plague in New Orleans, it certainly feels that way.
As Women Who Wow Wednesday continues its month-long tribute to women who rock Horror, which began last week with Maleficent, let’s examine the short life of Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) the vampire from the movie Interview with the Vampire, based on the book written by Anne Rice.
In 1791, Louis du Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) is only twenty-four when Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) turns him into a vampire. Before then, as the master of a large plantation, just south of New Orleans, Louis’ riches meant nothing to him. He’d lost his wife and child months earlier, and he longed for death. Young, vibrant, full of life, Lestat cuts Louis’ life short in an act of pure selfishness. Some may say, though, Lestat imparted Louis the essence of eternal life. However, how eternal is a life if it rests in the throes of damnation?
Claudia’s parents die by the plague. With the desire of wanting to revive her mother, the five-year-old asks Louis for help. Instead of bringing her mother back from the dead, a power Louis does not possess, he feeds off Claudia short of taking her life. Leaving her for dead, and with Louis’ conscience tearing at him for having drained Claudia of her life, Lestat bestows upon her eternal life, thus making her a vampire just like them.
Unlike Louis, whose manner of killing involves butchering animals but not people, Claudia’s hunger for blood has no bounds. From the moment Lestat made her into a predator, Claudia shows no regard for human life. Housekeepers fall to her scheming, leading Lestat to scold her, “Now, who will we get to finish your dress? There’s a practicality here! Remember, never in our home!”
In the early days, Claudia’s victims died quickly. As time passes, she learns how to play with them, delaying the moment until she takes what she wants. No one is safe. She uses her diminutive appearance to draw victims into her arms. Shopkeepers easily surrender their goods to the vicious killer. Even her piano teacher dies at her hands, prompting Lestat once again to ask, “Claudia, what have we told you?” Of course she remembers, “Never in the house.”
One day, Claudia sees a woman bathing, then realizes she will never grow older than the eternal child she is. She discovers the truth, provoking her to loathe both Louis for taking her life and Lestat for giving her another. However, she also realizes she and Louis are in the same predicament, locked together in hatred.
But she admits, she can’t hate Louis.
As the story goes, Claudia takes vengeance upon Lestat, breaking one of the everlasting laws among vampires—vampire shall not kill vampire. As opposed to physical strength, she uses stealth and cunning to do it. Those attributes make Claudia one of the most feared fictional characters in Horror. It’s also the reason she takes one of the top spots in Women Who Wow Wednesday. She proves someone doesn’t have to bulge with muscle in order to get things done.
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If you’ve seen Interview with a Vampire, what did you think of Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Claudia?
20 thoughts on “Claudia”
For as young as Dunst was, I thought she did really well in that role.
The vampires finally arrive on site. I’ve heard so much about Interview With The Vampire and neither read the book, nor seen the film. I must be too much of a Hammer Horror fan!
The issue of immortality is something I covered in the second Toten Herzen novel. I have a child vampire even younger than Claudia, so he’s too young to know what he is or that he’s immortal. Permanently infant. There’s something deeply unpleasant about immortality when you get into the nitty gritty of it.
When I first heard they were making this movie (seems like ages ago) I was a bit worried about the Claudia character since kid actors are always hit or miss. When I saw Claudia and how Dunst portrayed her, I worried no more. She was exactly how I pictured her when reading the books and she was far more fearsome that some of the grown up vampires. Great choice.
I ***LOVED*** this character. Yes, Claudia was creepy and nightmarish, but man, is she ever complex! When she has that rant about being an immortal stuck in a child’s body…wow. Her storyline is a complicated and intense bit of writing, and it’s probably the most interesting thing Anne Rice has done. (Full disclosure: I loved “Interview with the Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat” but after that, generally wanted to staple things to Anne Rice’s head.) Nice choice!
I had to stop reading half way because I’ve never seen this movie (what??! I know….) and it sounds amazing. Need to see it immediately. And she’s supposed to be five in the movie?? It’s funny how Hollywood screws up kids ages/development sometimes
It’s a movie filled with so many challenging themes. It’s worth watching this time of year as it’s filled with atmosphere and lots of strong performances by Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst.
If you do watch it, come back her and tell me about it! I’m interested in what you think of it!
Claudia truly seemed like a mature woman trapped in a little girl’s body. It was quite uncanny. I haven’t seen her in much else besides this & the Spider – Man movies w / Toby MacGuire..
In the movie the character goes from five to thirty-five fairly quickly. You’ll notice the progression in age as she notices the other women, wondering why she still remains a woman in a child’s body. Quite a fascinating subplot, which eventually leads her to make the decision she does later in the movie.
Oy, now I’m going to have to rent or buy a copy of it & re – watch it.
Claudia sort of reminds me of this child character in the BBC America series ” Intruders “. She’s not immortal, but a soul who has moved from body to body until she ends up inhabiting this little girl.
She’s a survivalist’s survivalist. & I had no idea she was Kirsten Dunst until now.
Saw that movie long ago, but I remember her creeping me out for some reason. Funny thing is that I totally forgot she was Kirsten Dunst while I was watching the first Spider-Man movie.
I didn’t watch this movie until ten years after its release because of the content. I even found it creepy, and I’m a guy who writes about zombies and aliens!
Child-like monsters tend to be eerie in general. It’s like it sets something off in your head because children are usually seen as innocent. Then again, I’ve learned that children really are little monsters wrapped in cuteness and glee. Maybe the movies like this are closer to reality than we realize.
Creepy, weird kids are usually creepier than creepy, humpbacked old people. Watch an episode of BBC America’s ” INTRUDERS ” & you’ll see what I mean. One of the characters is a 9 – yr. old taken over by the spirit of someone MUCH older. She’s foul – mouthed, & given minimal reason, she’d probably kill someone in their sleep. I wouldn’ want to be alone with her.
Maybe because the visual of the creepy humpback makes us expect weirdness and monster-like behavior. The ‘demon child’ has that look of innocence, so one can see it also as a corruption of said innocence. That seems almost more evil and you also know that many people would be tricked by such a monster.
Just like a beautiful, sexy, sophisticated lady who marries rich older ( but not always ? ) men who keep turning up dead a couple of years or so later…. ” Black widows “.
Ah, the crime show classic. Every series has that happen at least once.
Okay. She is a reason I might have to break down and watch this movie. She sounds like a villain’s villain. I like that.
Hey, Sandi, you may want to take a rain check if graphic violence is something that may be disturbing. However, having said that, if you’d watched Judge Dredd without a problem, this is a piece of cake! 😉
My big gripe with Dredd was that I was eating. lol Oh, and that the violence was often in SloMo, which was…ick. I will endeavor NOT to watch this while lunching, however, and hope to goodness no slow motion is involved. 😉 Thank you! (I actually am okay with violence that makes sense in its context. Like Gladiator, for instance. Fantastic film.)