REVIEW: Vampire Kiss (1988)


Directed by Robert Bierman, Vampire’s Kiss follows a publishing executive named

Peter Loew, who believes he’s transforming into a vampire following a sexual

encounter that left him with bite marks on his neck.


Nicolas Cage has become something of a strangely cathartic influence on me lately.

As in, I literally have a folder on my desktop with scenes from his movies to either

brighten up my day or to boost my energy. It’s debatable as to whether he is a good

actor or not, but whether he is doing both, I love him. He is simply one of a

kind.


This week I caught up with one of his earlier works, Vampire’s Kiss. A

movie that has earned a reputation for being ‘so bad that it’s good’. Let’s get this out

of the way: if you take this movie seriously, you’re going to hate it. This movie is not

for everyone. Its aura? Its energy? It denotes a weird blend of moodiness and

campness that uglifies and heightens the reality of its story and characters.


After ten minutes, I knew I couldn’t take this movie seriously, so I ceased all stern analysis and I observed it from the angle it was meant for. As a result, this movie is hilarious.


Vampire’s Kiss is a black comedy, and an underappreciated one. Nicolas Cage is

amazingly comical as Peter. The facial expressions, his fluctuating accent, he

completely unleashes himself in moments that elicited both pity and laughter from me.


I can’t help but notice some similarities to American Psycho and Nightcrawler, the

common similarity between the three being that everyone is essentially the hero and villain simultaneously in their own story.


Peter is no different but because Cage exudes a cosmic craziness, it makes him a tonne of fun to watch. Maria Conchita Alonso gives an excellent performance as Alva. She’s Peter’s feeble, frightened secretary who has to find a missing contract. That contract becomes an amusing running theme as there really isn’t much depth to it; it’s a plot device in service of Peter’s antics but also at Alva’s expense.


Vampire’s Kiss is very entertaining, and a lot of the dialogue is comedically contrived for the right reasons. But it’s not without its issues. It’s virtually plotless, there are a couple of scenes of Peter freaking out that should’ve been reshuffled as the order and the progression at which he thinks he’s 'transforming' didn’t flow organically. The editing is deliberately jarring but there were a couple of transitions that could’ve used a bit more flow.


The goal behind Vampire’s Kiss had left me eluded in its opening act. But through

the superficially stylised direction and its odd string-heavy score reminiscent of 30s and 40s horror cinema, I was able to enjoy the madness for what it was.


It’s a confusingly enjoyable black comedy with a perfectly unhinged performance by Nicolas Cage. It’s a weird one, but I enjoyed myself with this.


Written by Seán Mac G.


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