VAMPIRE'S KISS, 1988
Starring Nicolas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso and Jennifer Beals
After being bitten in the neck by a lover in the throes of passion, a high-powered executive believes he is turning into a vampire.
After watching a ten minute clip of this movie on YouTube, I only clicked on the video because it was recommended by the BBC 6 Music DJ and all-round nice guy Adam Buxton. When I finished watching the aforementioned clip, I couldn’t wait to watch the movie in full so I ordered it and anticipated its arrival.
Well, when I sat down to view it one evening, I was blown away by what I was watching. Not exactly one to enjoy the films of Nicolas Cage apart from the odd exception such as "The Family Man" and "The Weather Man", whether this movie intended to be funny might not be what the director wanted but it makes for an altogether excellent film.
Peter Loew (Cage) is a high-powered professional at a recognised company. With an army of assistants such as the delectable Alva (Alonso) who he doesn’t treat with any respect whatsoever, Peter works hard and plays in just the same way. Romancing whoever he has a keen eye on, he meets Rachel (Beals) one night in a bar and they head back to his flat. As they are making love, Rachel bites Peter in the neck and he starts to bleed. Over the course of the rest of the movie, Peter soon starts to become insane by thinking he’s a vampire. He turns his flat into a crypt, buys plastic vampire teeth and then kills a woman when he is wearing these teeth. But, as it turns out, Rachel was not a vampire and liked to bite men just before they are about to consummate their relationship. Will Peter succumb to his mentally unbalanced ways?
Cage somehow strikes gold once more. His over the top portrayal, especially when he is discussing his life with his psychiatrist, is marvellous from start to finish. Whether he wanted to play this role in a comedic way is not determined but what he does succeed in doing is putting across a successful portrayal of someone who is slowly losing their mind. Whether this could be attributed to his breakdown in his work relationship with Alva or that he starts to lose publishing clients is another matter but Cage’s theatrical actions make fantastic viewing.
Alonso perfectly plays the downtrodden assistant. Peter’s obsession with her borders on being a stalker and the way in which Alonso delivers this portrayal is simply marvellous. When Peter sexually abuses her, Alonso’s tears seem real and it is heart wrenching to see this especially when Cage’s performance is nothing short of pure comedic genius. Alonso not only uses to her advantage her beauty but also fine acting skills. It is great to read on her IMDB profile that she has been in gainful employment ever since the release of this movie and rightfully so.
The director also excels as well. Bierman knows that he is on to a winner with Cage’s portrayal and allows for the action to flow perfectly. The camera movement at no point becomes intrusive and he simply allows for the action to happen as naturally as possible. What he quoted to Cage to motivate him or give him hints is unknown but whatever was mentioned it produced a performance like no other. Since the release of the movie, Bierman has concentrated his efforts on television series but maybe his next feature is only a whisker away.
As Cage movies go, this is better than his recent offerings especially the "National Treasure" franchise. At least this movie makes you laugh although I’m sure this was not the movies intention. Like "Silent Night: Deadly Night Part 2", the movie features over the top acting by someone who is trying to play a straight role. This, along with the other characters found here, shows a truly classic movie at work.
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