Author Anne Rice has bought eight pages of advertising in Hollywood's leading trade paper to critique the movie version of her popular novel "Interview With The Vampire" and take aim at the picture's detractors.

Rice, whose comments appeared in the Friday edition of Daily Variety, was herself an early critic of producer David Geffen's decision to hire Tom Cruise in the lead role of Lestat, the bloodsucking protagonist.When they were cast, she likened Cruise and co-star Brad Pitt to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

But once she saw the finished version, she gracefully backed down by way of a two-page ad in Daily Variety.

The public, at least, seems to agree with her revised opinion, as the Warner Bros. movie has made almost $100 million at U.S. box offices.

The paper declined to say how much Rice's bill came to, although an official said the standard rate for a full-page color ad in the tabloid-sized paper is $6,000.

In her missive, Rice now likens Cruise, star of such hits as "Risky Business" and "Top Gun," to matinee idols such as Errol Flynn and Rudolph Valentino.

"I'm no good at modesty," she wrote. "I like to believe Tom's Lestat will be remembered the way Olivier's Hamlet is remembered. Others may play the role some day but no one will ever forget Tom's version of it."

She also praises Pitt, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and Kirsten Dunst, who plays a child vampire.

Most of Rice's vitriol was reserved for those reviewers who had disliked the film.

"Time and Newsweek, you no longer play a significant role in covering the news surrounding the arts, or in covering the arts themselves. . . . I've given up on you." The New Yorker and New York Times were also assailed.

Rice said she would like Cruise to reprise the role of Lestat in a sequel.

"I hope I get to write the script for the (sequel). Tom's power, knowledge, skill, magnetism and artisitic integrity are part and parcel of the success of `IWTV' and there is no doubt that Tom would bring power and magic to `The Vampire Lestat.' "