“Let the tale seduce you, just as I was seduced,” beckons the dashing, undead Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) to the jaded journalist (Eric Bogosian) he’s spirited to Dubai in the course of the pandemic to listen to his story. Anyone who’s fallen below Anne Rice’s spell is aware of what to anticipate, and AMC’s deluxe collection adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire delivers: supernatural thrills charged with extravagant erotic stress, deep philosophical angst and flowery language befitting a Gothic romance.

Lust mingles with bloodlust when the mercurial historic vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) places his immortal mark on Louis in early-1900s New Orleans, spottily recreated by an sadly uneven supporting forged. Thankfully, Anderson (Game of Thrones Grey Worm) holds the screen as the conflicted Louis. then and now. As a Black and (until Lestat reveals his true nature) closeted gay man at the turn of the last century, the ambitious “pleasure house”-owning entrepreneur Louis was already something of an outlier, considering his race and sexuality.

Unburdening himself in the shadow of COVID, Louis in retrospect sees himself as “easy prey for the discerning predator.” Once he succumbs to the drug of vampirism in scenes that scorch the screen just as they did on the page, his feverishly passionate and turbulent union with Lestat only complicates his tormented view of humanity, morality and eternal existence.

When they bring adolescent Claudia (Bailey Bass) into their home in a perverse attempt to create a family unit, things spiral further out of control, with the narcissistic and petulant Lestat losing patience with Claudia’s tantrums and Louis’ cussed ambivalence towards killing. This is heavy, heady materials, so I appreciated lighter grace notes just like the visible gag of Louis and Lestat sleeping in separate coffins — as if! — and the trio laughing their manner by the influential 1922 silent vampire basic Nosferatu.

Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

Rice’s soulful ghouls defy horror-movie cliché, and I’m now desirous to see how AMC fares with Rice’s different opus, the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches” collection that started with the unforgettable The Witching Hour. Halloween has come early this yr, and I’m not complaining.

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Series Premiere, Sunday, October 2, 10/9c, AMC (additionally streaming on AMC+)

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