Vampire's Kiss (1988) Review by RevTerry

If by some stroke of luck I have garnered some good graces among readers or if our beautiful little blog has anything in the way of regular readership, I may unfortunately lose a few of you within the the next few sentences of this paragraph. I remain dedicated in making these statements despite the above fact, doing so knowing in my heart of hearts that it is the truth, at least as far as I can know it.  Nicolas Cage is one of the greatest entertainers ever to grace the silver screen and as is as far I'm concerned the patron saint of mainstream trash cinema. On a personal level it is much easier for me to relate to Cage’s antics off screen than the average socialite. Like most Hollywood stars he was born into the business, lots of money and eventually suffered a breakdown of some sort but as with all things, when Nick Cage goes bankrupt it's with nerdy finesse. It's hard for me to understand people's relationship with celebrities who spend their time and privilege on appearance and soulless pursuits. Cage, on the other hand, buys castles, famous haunted houses and rare comic books,  the kind of extremes that I would imagine myself ruining my head start in life with, had I had the same. On the screen he takes a lot of ridicule, especially in recent years. It's as if we have forgotten the grave depression of Bringing Out the Dead (1999) or the crazed anti hero of Lynch’s adaptation of Wild at Heart (1990). He pours his dorky soul into the thinnest of work, and not in the pretentious look at me fashion of the last two Jokers, but instead with true love fitting of entertainment and fueled with a lifetime of being a fan himself. He makes shitty movies watchable and good movies great. I can hear the The Wicker Man (2006) jokes through time and your computer as I type but you know what? He gave you the bees. He did. Gave that to you. He didn't have to do that. When he is matched up with good film-making the result can be fucking golden and when it's time to cheese or corn he is your man. Don't even get me on my Castor Troy trip. I have a list of flicks from 86 to 05 for any argument against the man and somewhere between the nihilistic spiral of Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and the hybrid tone of Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) there sits 1989’s Vampire Kiss.
Peter Loew(Cage) is a young yuppie living in the late 80’s, spendin his privilege while he works as a literary agent, engaging in drunken one night stands and generally treating people like shit. He is also rapidly going insane and spends time with a shrink, where he goes into narcissistic, disillusioned tirades. One night while with a female caller a bat flies into his apartment and he feels the need to tells his therapist it gave him a boner. During one of his nightly trendy bar adventures he meets a woman who drinks the blood from his neck during sexy time. The events drive him further into madness and he begins to “transform”, which includes sporting some shades to avoid sunlight, some plastic vampire teeth and violent mood swings. We all have a good laugh as we watch the rapid decline of a man's mental health a la vampire movie cliches.
The tone of the film is almost brooding and dramatic with the deadpan humor of the coming early 90’s. A lot of the films laughs come from Cage’s performance, which would be comedic genius if it wasn't so genuine to insanity as well. Its framing of the cruel yuppie and his breakdown gives us a taste of the critical nature that would come with Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. Beating the novel and its celebrated adaptation to the punch in several areas it parodies the horror genre to pick apart the economic attitudes of the 80’s. There's a lot going on there to be examined and pulled apart but it's best done on your own and it is not necessary to enjoy the film. The comedy holds up well enough, even when we shouldn't be laughing, which is really the best kind of laughter in my opinion. Lighting and editing meet or exceed general quality for films of its time and budget(2 mill). It's easy to see while watching why it failed in theaters and found a smaller dedicated cult following but I'm surprised it doesn't get more love with the more “hip” youngsters.
Nicolas Cage throws his whole body into the role and gives three very distinct stages for is evolution into “vampirism”. The character begs for Cage’s signature madness and this was one of the films that cemented that reputation. Moments are filled with humor that would have surely been a meme just as quickly as the BEES, had it come later. He once said in an interview he turned down the film initially, wanting to do something safer after the high of Moonstruck. That would have been pretty fucked up as I can't see anyone else making it work.  is great as the vampiress that “turns” him. She definitely has the aura of a chick that might get you to let her go Radu on your neck. As a secretary that our young urban professional takes special interest in tormenting, we have , a consistent and familiar face that always make me think of Predator 2(1990). It's a shame she has been mostly reserved for bit parts and love interests because she is easy to root for on film.
So what if my dude has been relegated to straight to DVD films with his head superimposed to stock photos as of late? The man has given us some wonderful shit that no one else would have or could have done.  Plus I watched all that garbage and he is still putting in work harder then half the low ball or confused “method” actors you hear about currently.  Vampire's Kiss is a great example of how he can make a good film fucking amazing. It goes well with  Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction (1995) if you are down for a moody escape from the typical vampiric romance tropes.  Be nice to Saint Cage, he is just a spastic nerd like many of us and flicks like this easily can make up for the unwatchable first Ghost Rider and other stinkers for years to come.
 1h 43min | 1988
 Director: Robert Bierman
Writer: Joseph Minion 

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