Vampire's Kiss

USA, 1988

Director: Robert Bierman
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Beals, Maria Conchita Alonso
IMDB: 5.2

Here's a movie that really took me by surprise. A mate had been trying to get me to watch it for a while, but to be honest, a vampire comedy from the 1980s starring Nicolas Cage? Doesn't exactly make for something I'd go out of my way for, and the cheeseball DVD cover doesn't help.

While undeniably funny in a twisted kinda way, in actual fact Vampire's Kiss is not a parody, and much darker than you'd expect. In many ways it sits more easily amongst films such as American Psycho and Edmond. It's that kind of funny.

However, Cage does not have the acting chops of a Christian Bale or William H. Macy, and pretty much hams it up - giving us an over-the-top physical brand of humor more akin to Jim Carrey. This makes for a deliriously fevered performance once the insanity fully takes hold, but also lightens the tone considerably.

Cage plays Peter Loew - a high-flying, hard-drinking, womanising yuppie. In fact, when we first meet him he's shitfaced drunk, staggering back to his apartment with a new lady-friend in tow for a bit of the old in and out. In a seemingly innocuous event, a bat disturbs their fun and forces them to leave the apartment. This gains significance later on - though not in the way you might think.

The next morning he's at work, looking appropriately seedy in a suit with no socks, being the epitome of the asshole boss to his long-suffering Latina assistant Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso). In fact he really gives her a hard time, taking a psychotic glee in grinding her underfoot. Then he's off to counseling with his psychiatrist who doesn't seem to realise just how fucked up he really is.

The next night he scores again, but this time with Rachel (Jennifer Beals), and we get the second sex scene within the first 20 minutes of the movie. This is a 1980's movie - so its gratuitous of course.

In any case, inviting Rachel into his home might not have been the best idea, because she's a sexy vampiric seductress! What's more, she's the jealous kind.

Things start to go downhill for Peter from here on in - he starts avoiding sunlight, sleeps under his couch, wears shades to work, and his psychotic behaviour becomes more and more pronounced. But while we understand this downward spiral is due to the vampirism taking hold, is it really?

In the last 30 minutes, the true nature of the film starts to reveal itself for a surprising revelation. Of course there were small clues along the way, but I'm not going to spoil it here.

This is an oddball flick from the 1980's which I found to be surprisingly twisted. This must have been made before the censors started going PC on us - there's nudity, explicit swearing, rape, murder, and vampirism all rolled into one darkly humorous film. Cage's performance is perhaps over-wrought, but is enjoyable and certainly makes the movie.

Sound and visuals are nothing spectacular, although there are a few quite good-looking scenes, especially given the film had a budget of just $2 million. For something a bit different, Vampire's Kiss is well worth checking out.

Rating: 7/10


Systematicer said...

I think 'Vampire's Kiss' is quite blatantly about a man's fear of having a meaningful relationship, with the very same thing also being his greatest desire. It's the incompatibility of his fear and desire, the constant battle between the two, that drives him over the edge. It's certainly a very simplified psychological portrait but it made a great and poignant comedy in this case.

He only really comes alive at night when he can pick up a girl at a club and have his way with her. He dreads the day because then he's alone again and he envies all the people around him who are in steady relationships. Of course all this ties in nicely with the vampire allegory.

After three viewings 'Vampire's Kiss' keeps growing on me and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it.


Interesting analysis - I hadn't thought of it in that way. While not a movie I would classify as *great* ... its still a very enjoyable watch and has a great twist ending.

Definitely one that I will revisit time and again.

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