Anne Rice adapted the first volume of her “Vampire Chronicles” for this 1994 feature. A vampire (Brad Pitt) recounts his life story to a reporter (Christian Slater) in contemporary San Francisco. The film seems pitched mainly to people familiar with the book, and you may be perplexed about some background details—such as the identity of the interviewer and even who the vampire is at the beginning of his tale, when he's still a mortal and encounters the vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise) in late-18th-century New Orleans. But if you can get swept up in the story, the movie is imaginative and compelling. After the story moves to France, the superb visualization of catacombs may put you in mind of Poe. Directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), this is an ambitious, florid epic with some fine, eerie moments tied to a little girl played by Kirsten Dunst. But a more explicit spelling out of the story's gay subtext would have helped. With Stephen Rea and Antonio Banderas. R, 122 min.