For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have chosen a truly fatal female. Claudia from Interview with the Vampire is one of the most iconic female vampire characters ever written. I thought it was appropriate to choose her for this first Femme Fatale Friday of October, that creepiest of months!
Most people who know The Vampire Chronicles first think of Lestat as the most iconic vampire in the series, as he is. However, Claudia is such an intriguing case study of what it means to be a child turned into a vampire as well as of the monstrous feminine. She was only about five years old when she was turned in the book, but this is changed to eleven or twelve in the film. Understandably, they would choose to age her up a little bit for cinema, given how difficult it was going to be to get a young actress to portray her, not to mention labor laws around child actors!
For anyone who has ever seen this film, and I am going to assume that most of you who are vampire fans have seen it, it is obvious that the casting of this character was perfect! Kirsten Dunst did an impeccable job of acting in this role which entailed acting as a fully grown woman, emotionally, trapped in a pre-pubescent child’s body.
The turning of Claudia into a vampire was a ploy by Lestat to keep Louis with him. This was the vampiric version of a couple in a failing relationship having a child in order to try and save the relationship! Anne Rice herself has admitted that Louis and Lestat were married in her mind when they were raising Claudia. That is proof that even though it was lightly coded early on, Lestat and Louis were always meant to have been romantically involved!
Claudia, as a character, took on aspects of both of her fathers throughout the course of the novel. She was looking to Louis for comfort and to gain a moral compass, but she had the fire and manipulative qualities of Lestat. In fact, it was this ability to manipulate that would have Claudia attempt to take Lestat’s life so that she and Louis could go off and find other vampires! She also had a selfish streak a mile wide, as she forced Louis to turn someone else into a vampire so that she would have a companion when she left him.
It was these acts of selfishness and manipulation that would lead to Claudia’s death. She was burned in the sun as a punishment for her attempt to take the life of another vampire, which was seen as the worst sin a vampire could commit. This is the tragic tear-jerking moment where we see her and her new companion burned alive in one another’s arms!
The final aspect I want to cover is the fact that Claudia emotionally and mentally aged, even though she did not physically. This leads to a vampire in crisis, always wanting to look like a woman, but stuck in the body of a child. She makes attempts to distance herself from her youthful looks, by trying to cut her hair (unsuccessfully) and rejecting her dolls. Interestingly, it is her young looks that help Claudia in finding her victims, as it allowed her to play a lost child! She was the doll-like child who was a monster in disguise.
I hope that you have enjoyed this short post about Claudia. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Claudia from the graphic novel. I found the image on https://yenpress.com/2011/07/interview-with-the-vampire-claudias-story/.
Note: I am posting the link to my Discord here. Now is the chance, until 10/09/2022, to vote on the topic for this year’s Gothic Romance Week, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, or The Phantom of the Opera! The only way to vote is to join my Discord server, so to weigh in click the link: https://discord.gg/NaJpvPXukK
- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
- Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story by Ashley Marie Witter (graphic novel)
- Interview with the Vampire (1994)