With the mindset of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”, I’ll keep my opinions on the 2002 film brief.
Suffice to say, it was a film with flaws, poorly-adapted characters with little to no faithfulness to the books (books plural – Queen of the Damned was an amalgamation of Anne Rice’s book of the same name, and also “The Vampire Lestat”, her previous book) it was based on. Even judged on its own merits, it was still…well, it wasn’t great. Still better than Twilight, but…
Alright, now I’ve offended any fan of this film, let’s move onto the music, shall we?!
The score was a joint venture by composer Richard Gibbs and KoRn front-man Jonathan Davis.
At the time of the film’s release, I was a 100% Davis fan girl. I was obsessed with him. I had pictures all over my wall, and I had this picture frame on my window sill that had a cutout from a magazine picture of him in it, which you can see in this picture:
Oh, I would’ve done anything–and I do mean anything–to/with that man.
But I digress; what I’m trying to get across is the fact I had a bit of a “thing” for Jonathan Davis, and it was this “thing” that got me so interested in the Queen of the Damned movie, and that kept me interested when I should have left it well alone.
The score itself is fairly short (10 tracks), and highlights for me include:
This is the musical accompaniment to the opening titles, where we see Akasha (played by the late Aaliyah) in an enigmatic series of shots. It’s a nice build-up track, lots of suspense.
The music video above only has half the track, which is a shame, because the second half has a quiet, eerie quality to it, that dips and sways into a sharp finish. It’s the only one I could find on YouTube.
One of the characters in the film, Jesse, is an orphan who has dreams of a forgotten childhood, wherein she had a family that cast her out.
The music has a very bi-polar quality to it. In the beginning, it is dark and with plenty of long, drawn-out what I think are cello notes, possibly double-bass, which is replaced by soft, tinkering bells, giving it a very child-like quality, but also quite detached and sombre.
On the beach is a scene where Lestat and Marius (played by Vincent Perez and by far one of the film’s few saving graces) are discussing the importance of concealing themselves from mortals. Lestat, having none of this, joins a gypsy girl in a violin “music-off”. Lestat’s playing becomes more frantic and eventually the gypsies become afraid and try to flee, at which point he and Marius kill them.
This is my favourite track on the score, not least because I can hear Davis’ voice in the beginning, but the violin track is wonderful: long, drawn-out and haunting notes that really grip at you.
You can see the scene itself here.
The soundtrack is a mixture of original tracks designed to be Lestat’s songs in the film, and the usual “inspired by” fare.
Mostly hard rock and metal of the late 90’s/early2000’s, featuring most of the big rollers of the time (Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, and Static X to name but a few).
Just as a bit of a side note, “Down With the Sickness” is easily one of my favourite songs of all time; I have written countless scenes to it, and I hope to continue doing so.
All the songs on the soundtrack are great, and it’s going to make for a long post if I list them all, so instead I’ll just put this playlist link in here, and you can enjoy them all.
For what I assume were legal/contractual reasons to KoRn, Davis’ vocals on the songs written specifically for the film couldn’t be included on the official soundtrack release. Instead, the album had various other artists, including Chester Bennington and Marilyn Manson, to fill-in as Lestat’s voice.
For example, here is the movie version of Forsaken, complete with a full music video, including Davis’ vocals:
And here is the soundtrack release, with Disturbed’s David Draiman providing vocals instead:
Personally, I prefer Draiman’s version, but only because that is the one I had on the soundtrack CD, so that’s the one burned into my brain. Plus, Draiman has a somewhat more powerful voice.
Music to Write All Sorts of Scenes To
If we’re talking about the score, it generally goes well with writing tense scenes, with many of the tracks steadily building in intensity and leaving you feeling uncomfortable or unprepared for what’s coming.
On the other hand, the soundtrack serves better for action and fight scenes, as hard rock should.