Note: This episode of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire contains depictions of domestic violence and implied sexual assault. For 24/7 help, visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (online.rainn.org) or The National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (thehotline.org). For resources for the LGBTQ+ community, The Network/La Red has a specific hotline at 800-832-1901.
Over the course of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, the show has taken different views of the relationship between Louis and Lestat. Daniel frequently calls it abusive or a gothic romance at best, while Louis insists they were on equal footing. But in “A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart,” Lestat’s true abusive nature emerges in full as Claudia pokes holes in the fantasy life he and Louis had built. Sam Reid, Bailey Bass, and Jacob Anderson are all excellent as the central trio is pushed past the breaking point.
Killing for Company
While Louis drinks from Rashid, Daniel reads through Claudia’s account of her victims’ last words. Rashid voices his discomfort at Daniel’s story publicly outing Louis as a vampire, sharing that the other vampires of the world will come after him and even calling it a “suicide” that Daniel is enabling. Louis dismisses him as Daniel seeks confirmation of Claudia’s kills in online records, not believing the story. Louis shares that he was once skeptical too as we flash back to the 1920s.
In the aftermath of Charlie’s death, Claudia goes on what can only be described as a child vampire, serial killer rampage, carelessly disposing of the bodies while Louis assumes she is on a months-long hunger strike locked in her room. Lestat sees through her act, annoyed at having to deal with Louis’ emotions and wanting to be the center of his world again. He goes upstairs and opens her coffin, proving it’s empty. They find her diaries, and while Lestat reads one line and leaves in disgust, Louis is desperate for a way into her life.
He reads the notebooks, and when she returns from hunting, they both confront her with her carelessness. While Louis confined himself to reading her “kill book,” Lestat went on to read the rest of her work, including the passages with less than flattering opinions. Lestat pushes her against the dresser, demanding to know where the bodies were buried as she asks Louis if he’s going to let Lestat treat her like this. She reveals the bodies are buried out of town, but Lestat and Louis panic when they realizes the locations she chose is under the water line. The next time there’s a big storm, the bodies will resurface.
They do, with an unsuspecting man making the discovery of a killing field. The news sweeps through New Orleans as Louis and Lestat pump a politician for information. He reveals each body had a part missing – fingers here, feet there. They rush home after realizing the evening invitation was just a setup to get them out of their house long enough for the police to search it. In a comedic sequence, a drunk Claudia stumbles upstairs to dispose of her “souvenirs” (including one barely alive man) while Lestat and Louis try to contain the damage with the officers. They manage to hide the evidence and get away with a slap on the wrist for having alcohol in the home, even as the deputy makes allusions to prison terms for Louis and Lestat’s relationship.
Lestat is furious, ranting about how perfect their lives were before Claudia arrived. Still tipsy, Claudia expresses her frustration with being alone.
Who am I supposed to love? You two have each other. Who’s my Lestat? Who’s my Louis? I’m not human. What human would want me? Perverts… little boys? And 40 years from now, still little boys? Which one of you is gonna fix it? … What can’t I make one?Claudia
Claudia’s accidental reveal that she has been trying to create a vampire companion herself unsuccessfully sets off an argument as Lestat calls her a “mistake.” Louis protests, and Claudia asks why he lets Lestat treat them “like shit.” She also tells Louis that she followed Lestat and saw Lestat with Antoinette. He never left her as he promised Louis he would. As Claudia runs upstairs and packs her things, Lestat weakly protests that he’ll kill her soon.
Louis begs Claudia to stay, but she refuses. She tells him she remembers being made and that her heart was still beating. He should have brought her to a hospital, not their home. She believes she could have lived a normal human life if he had. She storms off, leaving a despondent Louis behind.
I had no words for her. What words were there? “It all happened so fast, I was trying to save you, all vampires are born out of trauma.” We made her out of remorse, out of selfishness.Louis
You’re On Your Own, Kid
Daniel is far less sympathetic to Claudia, remarking that “the poor dear wasn’t held enough between ritualistic murders” and that “she makes you and Frenchy look like a couple of whiny, existential queens.” Louis is keen to make sure her diaries aren’t exploited, and Daniel correctly points out that once the story is released, the world will have control over Claudia’s legacy. He even predicts a line of “sexy Claudia Halloween costumes” since the younger generation is obsessed with killing machines like her. Louis urges him to read more to better understand her perspective.
Lestat barely contains his excitement at having Claudia gone, but Louis is devastated. Under suspicion, the two are increasingly trapped with only each other. At night, Louis sends thoughts of remorse as far as he can to try to reach Claudia and ask her to come home. For the next seven years, he waits for her return. The house falls into disrepair while a bored Lestat grows tired of playing second to Claudia’s memory.
Meanwhile, Claudia gets by seeking prey at various colleges, trying to learn more about vampires. After running into a white student who tries to kick her off campus, she meets fellow vampire Bruce, who helps her feed on the jerk. At first, he seems like the answer to Claudia’s prayers. He’s younger, attractive, and immortal. But it is slowly revealed that Bruce has been stalking Claudia looking for more vampires to connect with, especially after hearing Louis’ pleas for her return. He gets closer and closer as she realizes she is the one who was hunted. When she tries to escape, he dislocates her shoulder as she writhes in pain.
We don’t see what happens next as Louis has ripped out those pages in Claudia’s diary. Daniel repeatedly asks to read them as he refuses, noting that the reporter can connect the dots himself and that he refuses to exploit Claudia’s words. But Daniel continues to push, noting that Claudia wrote the words herself and that “editorializing” her story only takes away from her power. Louis has had enough. He loses control of his powers as Daniel’s hand shakes uncontrollably, only stopping when Rashid rushes in to calm Louis. After a brief pause, Louis apologizes through Rashid and offers to continue. Daniel deservedly slaps him in retaliation before calmly sitting down to finish the discussion.
Louis reads about a serial killer targeting college students and excitedly tells Lestat that it must be Claudia. Lestat sees Antoinette waiting for him in the street. Annoyed at the fixation on Claudia, he leaves to see her. Louis barely notices. He gets a call from Grace to meet at the cemetery. When he arrives, she reveals she has legally had him declared dead. “Her” Louis died a long time ago, but now that the Depression is forcing her family to move North, she needs to make it official. As Louis sobs over his own grave at the final loss of his sister, it’s revealed that Claudia is watching from afar.
Today at the cemetery, I finally understood something so obvious, which I had pondered for a decade: why they made me. To be Louis’ sister.Claudia
Overcome with love and sympathy for Louis, Claudia returns to convince him to leave Lestat once and for all. Lestat scoffs at her plans to head for Europe and research more about the origin of vampires, but when she mentions taking Louis with her, the atmosphere goes from tense to dangerous.
While Lestat tries convincing Louis to stay by ridiculing Claudia and mocking her pain (having picked up on something happening to her though not knowing about Bruce), she tries to make Louis see Lestat’s abusive tactics for what they are.
I thought I could live without you, but I was wrong. His love is a small box he keeps you in. Don’t stay in it. Please come with me. Let’s be vampires worthy of your love!Claudia
Knowing that he is losing the fight and likely Louis, Lestat abandons all pretense of love and decorum as his full rage comes out. He chokes Claudia, and Louis tackles Lestat to defend her. What follows is a disturbing and well-acted sequence as Lestat beats Louis while Claudia tries to hide from his rage. She calls out for “Daddy Lou” and is much like the child we first met. The house is destroyed around them as Claudia begs Lestat to stop. Louis heartbreakingly tries to reassure her despite his own injuries, telling her to hide and stay where she is.
I fought myself a million times, fought my nature, controlled my temper. I never once harmed you… Louis, I have waited, I have patiently waited in vain, for you to love me as I love you. Just say it, say “Lestat I am never going to love you.” It would help me a great deal to hear that from your lips — from your quivering, hateful lips.Lestat
But Louis is no match for Lestat, who drags a bloodied Louis though the alley as Claudia struggles to fight back. To her horror, Lestat takes flight and drags Louis into the air with him. As they soar high above the city, Louis begs Lestat to let him go. He does, plunging Louis to the ground and leaving him nearly dead as Claudia sobs over his body.
Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, with the series also available on AMC+. AMC+ subscribers also get the subsequent week’s episode early.