The Sunday Cult Film Corner: “Vampire’s Kiss (1988)”

12 May


Awww man, sometimes on a Sunday you just feel absolutely drained after a long weekend of party and swapping spit with the lower rungs of society. Sometimes all you want to do is shield yourself from direct sunlight, as you hiss at the sight of fresh fruit. Essentially you have become a weekend hungover vampire, although in this case you can only subsist on diet coke instead of blood.

So with that in mind, for this week’s edition of The Sunday Cult Film Corner we have a psychological black comedy that contains one of the most bizarre scene chewing acting displays ever put to a quintessential ’80s yuppie spectacularly falls apart. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you VAMPIRE’S KISS.

The film stars Nicolas Cage as Peter Loew, an aggressive New York literary agent and total sleazeball. Despite a seemingly good life on the surface his life is an empty procession of barhopping and one night stands, which cause him to start fraying at the edges. He is abusive to his secretary Alva, tormenting her to find a lost contract that allows him to browbeat and treat her like dirt. He starts seeing a therapist to deal with his issues.

One night at a club, he meets Rachel (Jennifer Beals). Taking her back to his flat, she reveals herself to be a vampire who bites him and draws blood from his neck. As she bites him again and again, he comes under the impression that he too is turning into a vampire. His mind and life begin to spiral out of control as he starts wearing sunglasses, hides from sunlight and crosses, and believes his reflection is disappearing. Even when his “fangs” don’t appear, he buys a fake pair to complete his transformation. As he and the film approach breaking point, he embarks on a murderous spree, as he find himself unable to tell reality from fantasy.

OK, let’s get the negatives out of the way, Vampire’s Kiss suffers from a painfully slow beginning, and some lacklustre cinematography. It feels and looks more like an elongated episode of ‘The Outer Limits.’ Which is a shame as VAMPIRE’S KISS, is not about vampires, but instead is an interesting takedown of the male ego. The character of Loew swings from strutting overconfidence, to pathetic bitterness as he is unable to connect with the women in his empty life, which are a vampire, his therapist and his put upon secretary.

But to be honest, the poor pacing of VAMPIRE’S KISS is more than made up for the true grand guignol style excess contained in the acting of Nicolas Cage. Oh maaaaaan. With some films you have good acting. Then there’s bad acting. Then there’s NICOLAS CAGE ACTING!! He just goes into supersonic lunacy on this one. Any kind of subtlety is thrown out of the window as nothing is off-limits. His character is a thoroughly unpleasant misogynist, yet he is completely mesmerizing as he screams, moans, and eyeballs his own shadow. In fact, if you look at YouTube and type in the phrase “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit,” a lot of the material comes from VAMPIRE’S KISS.

Some people have criticised the film and the acting as confusing, especially the end section were the film splits into imagined reality and grotty reality. But if you actually watch it closely, then there are moments when it’s actually very satirical in the style of other big city films such as ‘American Psycho,’ the way it shows that city and the people within as sucked out, shallow husks.

So get your shades on and watch a films that is completely over the top in the best possible way…

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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Film


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