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From ‘Interview’ To ‘Twilight’: Here’s How Anne Rice Brought Vampires Mainstream

Published 5 months ago
By Forbes

TOPLINE

The novelist Anne Rice, who died Saturday at age 80, was best known for her bestselling series The Vampire Chronicles, which is credited with launching an era in popular culture where the vampire took center stage.

KEY FACTS

Her first book, Interview With A Vampire (1976), inspired in part by the death of her 5-year-old daughter, Michelle, from leukemia, explored the themes of “immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power” and became a bestseller.

Popular culture, especially Hollywood, began exploring the vampire as Rice did — as a more tortured, human-like figure than as a pure monster — in Lost Boys (1984), Near Dark (1987), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and a star-studded film version of Interview With a Vampire (1994) with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. 

The TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer — adapted from the 1992 film of the same name — aired from 1997 to 2003 and was a cult hit, and led to the spinoff Angel.

Other successful shows include True Blood (2008-2014) and The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017), the latter of which has spawned two spinoffs.

Perhaps the most popular vampire franchise in recent memory is the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, which led to a five-film series that grossed $3.3 billion between 2008 and 2012.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Rice said she was a fan of True Blood but not Twilight, saying Meyer’s series “wasn’t for me”: “the idea of vampires going to high school forever seems like hell to me.”

SURPRISING FACT

Rice was something of a local celebrity in her native New Orleans, known for throwing “legendary” Halloween parties — and arriving at local book signings in a coffin.

TANGENT

Buffy creator Joss Whedon apparently did not share some of Rice’s more romantic views of vampires, and actor James Marsters recalled Whedon saying “I don’t like that Anne Rice crap.”

KEY BACKGROUND

Rice died almost exactly 19 years to the day after her husband, Stan. According to her son Christopher she will be interred at the family’s mausoleum in New Orleans during a private ceremony. A public celebration of her life is planned for next year.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Earlier this year it was announced that AMC had begun developing Rice’s Interview With the Vampire for television, with the eight episodes set to debut in 2022 — one of several vampire-centric shows currently in development.

 By Téa Kvetenadze, Forbes Staff

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