Terrible news for the horror and goth community today, as it’s been announced that Anne Rice, influential novelist whose Vampire Chronicles helped reignite an obsession with gothic horror, has died. She was 80 years old.
As reported by CNN, Rice’s son Christopher confirmed her death, saying it arose from complications due to a stroke. Though she was famously a resident of New Orleans for much of her life, Rice spent her last years in California, which is where she passed away.
Rice’s biggest novel was 1976’s Interview With The Vampire, about a young, helpless vampire in colonial New Orleans named Louis, who lives under the tutelage of the vampire who made him, the dashing and nihilistic Lestat. The book was a huge success in part due to its reimagining of vampires as sympathetic creatures while at the same time indulging in romantic vampire tropes. The novel was made into a successful 1994 movie with Brad Pitt as Louis and Tom Cruise as Lestat.
One of Rice’s stories that some metal fans might know better is Queen of the Damned, about Lestat becoming a hard rock star and eventually joining forces with Akasha, the first vampire, who is a bloodthirsty, megalomaniacal monster. While the novel was published in 1988, it was adapted into a 2002 film with Stuart Townsend playing Lestat and R&B singer Aaliyah playing Akasha. Providing Lestat’s rock vocals was Korn frontman Jonathan Davis.
Aaliyah’s performance earned Queen of the Damned a spot on our list of the 13 most metal vampires of all time, with The Pit’s own Chris Krovatin writing, “Unmatched in both her beauty and her cruelty, Akasha is the embodiment of the vampire overlord, a powerful queen who stops at nothing to get what she wants. The character was most famously portrayed by Aaliyah in the 2002 film adaptation of Rice’s book, who did a solid job of getting across both her sensuality and her undying lust for power. Hell hath no fury like a 6000-year-old woman scorned.”
Everyone at The Pit sends their condolences to Rice’s family, friends, fans and peers during this difficult time.