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Home > Film

Aaliyah Haughton: Queen of the Damned

Yet another film drives a lunatic to bloody murder.

12 October 2003

Tribute to an Angel is a fansite for Aaliyah Haughton, the woman described as the Princess Diana of the hip hop community. Haughton was killed in an airplane crash, just a couple of weeks before the two towers were knocked over. She was said to have been on the verge of international success. As well as an accomplished hip hop and R&B singer, 22-year-old Aaliyah was also something of an actress. She had already made a couple of films and had three other projects lined up. The last film she made was called Queen of the Damned.

Here she is. Have a look. Wasn't she splendid? Aaliyah plays Queen Akasha, the Mother of All Vampires, and her malevolent mission is to create Hell on Earth, with the vampire Lestat - who is also an internationally renowned rock musician - ruling by her side. Not exactly The Battleship Potemkin. Not even Carry on Camping. But Aaliyah looked quite horny, and showed great promise.

Now clearly, there is a large and important difference between fan adulation and, to use a word we're all overly familiar with, madness. You can see an example of the first at the above-mentioned tribute site. If you want. But it's not very interesting. Much more interesting is Allan Menzies, a prime example of the latter. Menzies is also a fan of Aaliyah, and in particular, of her last film, Queen of the Damned. He is said to have watched the film a hundred times, "until the tape broke." And on Wednesday, the 22-year-old unemployed security guard was sentenced to life imprisonment for one of the nastiest murders ever to have been blamed on an appalling piece of cinema.

The murder took place last December. Menzies was at home with his friend, Thomas McKendrick, whom he'd known since he was four, when they began to argue and Thomas said something uncomplimentary about Queen Akasha. One imagines he said it with the intention of provoking Menzies. However, Menzies' response was, by any standards, an overreaction. Menzies attacked his friend. In defence of Queen Akasha, in tribute to his angel, he stabbed his friend 42 times, and hit him with a hammer ten times. Then, as he told the Edinburgh High Court, "I drank two cups of his blood. A fragment of his skull was on the carpet, so I ate that." As you would.

Menzies told the court: "At the end of the day I knew I would have to murder somebody anyway. It was the only way you could do it. If you don't murder somebody you couldn't become a vampire." Turns out that Menzies believed that Queen Akasha had visited him and promised him that if he were to kill someone and drink their blood, he would become immortal.

Now here's the thing. According to the jury, Menzies was "bad, not mad." A plea for diminished responsibility had been rejected and a psychiatrist had testified that "there is no evidence that he was insane at the time of the offence." Oh really? He wasn't mad? Oh come on. Even if you discount the notes he made in his Anne Rice novel - notes like "I have chosen my fate to become a vampire. Blood is much too precious to be wasted on humans." Even if you think that his talk of vampirism and hallucinations, of taking McKendrickís soul and of killing "to get back at God" is all an evil act to grab a cushy number in a looney bin. Even if you interpret his history of violence as further proof that Menzies is merely 'a rotten egg'. Let's not forget, he did eat a piece of someoneís head. Letís remember that. He did kill his friend, and he did drink his blood and he did, letís not forget, eat a piece of his fucking head. How much more proof do you need, for Christís sake? Of course heís fucking mad. He is completely, one hundred per cent, wholly and utterly barking.

Anyway, perhaps the most important question is, what if we're all wrong and Queen Akasha really did promise Menzies immortality for this horrific act? And what if it came to pass, and now Menzies actually is immortal? If so, then in this case at least, please, life really must mean life. Otherwise where's the justice?

More Vampires: http://www.vampiresamongus.com

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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