February 03, 2011

In Anne Rice mythology, all vampires are progenies of Akasha, Queen of Egypt in primordial times. As a mortal, Akasha provoked the wrath of a powerful witch who inadvertently sent an evil spirit to fuse with the queen's body. And so the Queen of Egypt became Queen of the Damned, the world's first vampire. 

If she dies, so does every bloodsucker. With husband King Enkil, Akasha became Those Who Must Be Kept when, after years of bloodsucking, they retired to their thrones and inexplicably passed into a state of dormancy. The royal couple literally sat still as statues for the next millennia. Meanwhile, younger vampires came and went to become curators of these ancient volcanoes.  

But sleeping they were not. Though immovable as marble, Akasha was bubbling and boiling with lava-hot anger while hearing the world's collective sorrows. Gone mad or not, Akasha proved to be One Who Must Die Now when she woke up in the 20th century and suddenly wanted to bring the apocalypse crashing down on everyone with a dick, stat.

Queen Akasha looked as good on the silver screen as on paper. In 2002, Warner Bros. released a movie version of the Anne Rice novel with chanteuse-cum-actress Aaliyah portraying the vampire queen. But the story itself should have stayed on paper. Anne Rice fans were horrified that a movie should bungle its source material so much that it became almost unrecognizable. (Brunette Lestat? Jesse in love with Lestat? No Louis? No Mekare?) Readers had at least hoped for a crucial sequence set in ancient Egypt, but Warner Bros. scrimped on the budget. 

Nevertheless, Aaliyah was "at her best" in the movie. 

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