“It is a place for dark, romantic souls,” Anne-Marie says of her involvement in a scene filled with people half her age. As she speaks, she turns to show the black cross etched (in eyebrow pencil) on her cheek.
Anne-Marie’s position as club doyenne is the latest in a vampire career that has stretched from adviser to best-selling writer Anne Rice to appearances on ’80s TV talk shows. Rice acknowledged Anne-Marie’s research on 18th-century castrati in her 1983 novel Cry to Heaven. Anne-Marie also served as a key interview in L.A. film historian/documentary producer David J. Skal’s 1993 novel The Monster Show. (Despite her former notoriety, Anne-Marie requests that her last name be withheld so strangers don’t hassle her about her blood lust.)
This night, Anne-Marie is speaking to a more select audience — of fellow vampires, she says.
“I am looking for people who share my vampiric spirit,” she intones.
Several weeks later, OffBeat drops by Anne-Marie’s Hollywood day-residency hotel, threading our way past two transsexuals in the stairwell to get to her small, crowded room. She has been laid up with pneumonia for several weeks, but she cordially invites us in. Preliminaries out of the way, she begins discussing her desire for blood, which began when she was 3 and tried to taste her mother’s blood. (The mother, an alcoholic, had been scratched by her sister in a catfight.) “It is an erotic fixation that has been with me since I was a little girl. I was punished for it,” Anne-Marie remembers.
It wasn’t until she was 45 that she sought blood donors to feed her appetite. She attributes her coming out to Rice.
“I read Interview With the Vampire. It was a revelation,” Anne-Marie says. “I began to come out of the closet more, about my blood fetish.” For years, she drank blood sporadically, getting several friends to provide her with 10 cc’s of blood. She sipped it out of a syringe. At the time, she was also addicted to heroin. She kicked her drug addiction a couple of years ago, Anne-Marie adds.
“Human beings can’t nourish themselves on blood,” says Skal. “It is a symbolic thing.” Skal says that blood fetishists usually have one thing in common — a history of childhood violence. Skal says Anne-Marie told him she had been abused. “Blood becomes the overwhelming symbol of closeness,” he adds.
Anne-Marie was once a punk-music reviewer for the Los Angeles Star newspaper, but over the last 10 years has sometimes lived under a freeway overpass. Currently, she is subsisting on SSI, but has completed her own vampire novel and is shopping it to publishers.
To Anne-Marie, blood ingestion is an expression of the darker side of romanticism. “It is a consenting act between consenting adults. It is sacred and should be treated with respect,” she says. “You can’t have light without darkness. They are co-dependent on each other.”