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USA 1989
Directed by
Robert Bierman
88 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Vampire's Kiss

Vampire’s Kiss is a smart movie. A little too keen to say so but nevertheless as a comedy it’s funny – not because of its jokes (there are none) but for its persistent and perverse tongue-in-cheek genre spoofing excessiveness.

Nicholas Cage plays Peter Loew (perhaps a homage to Peter Lorre) a typical '80s New York yuppie, suit by day, pick-up artist by night, who is seeing a psychiatrist (Elizabeth Ashley) for depression. One night, he picks up a hottie (Jennifer Beals) who at the height of their passion sinks her fangs into his neck. Peter’s behaviour starts to become erratic and eventually he realizes that he’s been turned into a vampire.

Robert Bierman’s film was written by Joseph Minion who penned Martin Scorsese’s much-admired, to me inexplicably so, 1985 comedy, After Hours. This film has a similar mainstream look but its B grade content makes it much more deserving of cult status. Going above and beyond the call of duty (he really did eat that cockroach) Nicholas Cage delivers a tour de force of over-acting, as if The Joker were burlesquing Max Schrek.  This grandstanding sweeps all before it although as Bierman ramps up the absurdity with increasingly obvious ludicrousness its appeal diminishes somewhat before arriving at an ending which is rather anti-climactic.

Vampire’s Kiss doesn’t have the tragi-comic chops of delusional comedies such as Scorsese’s King Of Comedy (1983) or Ben Stiller’s The Cable Guy (1996) but if you like off-beat humour it’s a better-than-average diversion.




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