Vampire's Kiss (1988) Poster

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Loneliness is a Stake Through the Heart
MSStMarie12 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
VERY BIG SPOILERS!!! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!! I explain the entire film here, so if you don't want to have it explained, read no further!!

I did receive an e-mail from the screenwriter of this film, thanking me for understanding his movie after I posted this comment on Amazon years ago. I really think it's an underrated film that people misunderstand and everyone can relate to on some level.

Vampire's Kiss" is an overlooked and misunderstood dark comedy, and an allegory for the isolating fear of intimacy that can mimic being "undead." It features an amazing physical comic performance by Nicholas Cage as Peter Loew, which deserves recognition. I've read reviews wherein people feel that the character of Peter Loew has descended into madness as a result of being a jilted lover. But his madness is more about his crushing loneliness in a world where everyone around him seems to be happily and easily paired off. In spite of his solitude, he is emotionally unable to connect to anyone.

One night, he brings a woman back to his place, but while in the throes of passion, a bat flies into his apartment through an open window. The mystery and excitement of fighting off the bat becomes more erotic and interesting to him than the willing beauty in arms.

Terrified of the closeness he craves, he sabotages any opportunities he has for actual relationships in favor of elusive fantasies and hallucinations. His fear of commitment manifests itself as a vampire lover in the form of Rachel (Jennifer Beales), a woman he has had one conversation with in a bar, but has never made it with, except in his own fantasy world. There, she is a dominatrix of a vampire, sucking the life out of him, making him a prisoner of her demands, hungers, and lusts, distracting and preventing him from any real intimacy, promising him that soon, he will "be with her."

The vampire is the only one to whom he can say "I love you," and she doesn't even exist--not really. She represents the promise of something more exciting right around the next corner. Peter simply cannot commit to anything else when love and immortality are so close, but so far...

Vampires seem human, but they aren't human; they FEED ON humans. They're dead, cold, and isolated from the warmth of human existence--which is exactly how Peter feels, and why he believes he's becoming one. Plus, he is suicidal, and he seems to have found a way to receive deliverance in the form of his secretary Alva, who he begins to torment in earnest once he discovers she carries a gun, hoping she'll (justifiably) use it on him.

It's over the top and a little hard to understand, but I found this movie so engaging, and Cage's performance so funny and astonishing, in spite of the dark subject matter, that I have watched it over and over again. I have used this movie as a compatibility test for potential mates (which is sort of Peter-ish, I guess), and if they like it, I know it's a good match. If it had been performed another way, by another actor, I don't know if I would like it at all. But Cage brings brutality, vulnerability, tragedy, and all-out desperation together to create a complex character the like of which I have never seen before or since.

Sure, there are violent scenes; but are they real, or are they his imagination? We'll never know. So much of "Vampire's Kiss" happens in Loew's mind that all we know for sure is that he's desperately alone. So alone, he's willing to drive someone else over the edge to help ease his pain. He's so cowardly and childish that he uses terror as a way to achieve relief from his horrible solitude--death is less frightening to him than actually getting close to a real person. Therein lies the horror, and the sadness, of "Vampire's Kiss." And in Cage, lies the performance which makes this story watchable, and actually very funny.
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One of a kind
pisces-614 August 2000
After reading so many comments who put this film down, I just had to write something to its defence. True: the film is confusing in many ways; you get confused what is real and what is not for example. But some of the hilarious scenes in this movie is more than worth it. In one of his most remarkable, over-the-top performances, Nicolas Cage transforms from an up-tight snob to a complete lunatic. This is one of the most original and unconventional movies I have ever seen. Those of you who want predictable Hollywood movies should steer away; for the rest of you this can be an enjoyable experience!
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Just keep watching
medvecky9118 May 2003
This is one of those movies you have to watch to the end to truly appreciate. It's a mess -- but it goes places you can't imagine despite the workmanlike screenwriting and the slow pace of the beginning. It's worth it. Charlie Kaufman could have written it, it's so bizarre and beyond the norm for the silly Hollywood movie it's disguised as. I don't want to analyze it as some metaphor for a relationship with a blood-sucking bitch as others have or argue what's real and what's not. I watched it expecting some anemic late 80's comedy and with that expectation, I found myself bolting upright in my chair in surprise at what it delivered. One of Nic Cage's best early performances, ranks with Raising Arizona and Valley Girl, except he's never sympathetic -- ever. In that sense, I understand what people mean when they say it's a monster movie.
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The plot summary has it ALL WRONG
KevinMHagerman11 May 2003
This movie is NOT about vampires; there isn't a single vampire in it. Instead, it is about a man (played by Cage) who loses his mind and begins to think he is a vampire after an unsatisfying series of one-night stands that make him feel empty. It's a metaphor about relationships, and this is one fantastic black comedy. Check it out and thank me later.
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Vampirism can be a state of mind
lib-417 October 1998
There is something to be said for excess. Nick Cage as Peter Lowe is the great god of over-acting - which makes this film truly remarkably funny. Peter goes from controlled yuppie to mad vampire right before your eyes. This is one of my favorite films because it is so over the top. Again, it is little things like calling the psychiartist when he has cheap vampire teeth in his mouth or skipping down the street chanting " I'm a vampire" that make this film uniquely freaky.
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Funny, unintentional or not...
raamthodol18 November 2005
One of the funniest movies I have ever seen, but I still wonder to this day if it was meant to be this way or not. The central idea of the story revolves around Peter Loew, a mid-level executive in a book publishing company, who believes himself to be bit by a vampire (the way Jennifer Beals looked in this film, most men probably would give their right and left jugulars to be in his place, but I digress...) In any case, it is rather unclear until the end if these nocturnal visitations by the lady vampire are real or not, but watching Nicholas Cage play the deranged Peter Loew was a masterpiece of comic acting. It is questionable if the director intended the movie to be this way, as it does come across as a serious horror film in many ways, but my wife and I are pretty sure that he saw he had a turkey of a horror script and so told Cage to "run with it" and take it as far over the top as possible. And does he! Highly recommended for those that like black comedy and psychological story lines -- but if you are looking for real horror fare, just skip it. Best scenes: when he eats a roach, eats a bird (not seen on screen), and bites a woman to death with his plastic vampire teeth. Enjoy!
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very, very misunderstood
andrfenlon1 April 2001
Vampire's Kiss is a comedy. In no way is it supposed to be akin to legitimate vampire movies. It parodies horror films and satirizes life in the big city, much like other popular films, such as American Psycho, do. In my opinion, Vampire's Kiss is much better than American Psycho because instead of trying to be creepy and ultimately failing, Vampire's Kiss is hilarious. I gave it a ten. I'm certain that I'll be seeing it over and over again.

ME, 2006: Looking back at this comment about the film and writing anew from a later date, I can certainly recognize why this movie isn't for everyone. If you are a fan of absurd, inane, dark, wry humor, and you enjoy watching movies for subtlety and detail THIS IS IT. Watch out for the mimes, and enjoy.
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Brilliant and Fascinating!
laurelsloft12 September 2006
I cannot believe how many people have ragged on this film! Then again, it is a work of art, and by definition will be appreciated by some and hated by some. The thing is, everyone keeps ranting on about how "confusing" it was and how it "jumped around too much" but I believe firmly that was very much intended. Cage's character was experiencing those exact feelings. He was on the brink of madness where absolutely nothing made sense, and in a typical "Hollywood" movie you'd sit back and be able to decipher the character's madness. You'd be able to "see" where he cracked and why and where he was going with it. In this one, you experience what the character experiences. You have no idea what the heck is going on, and I DIG that! I think this is truly a fantastic film. I've seen it countless times and it never fails to entertain.

A must see if you're into the dark comedy genre. There are so many little moves and bits of dialog that get overlooked the first couple of times - so if you enjoy it - see it again so you can pick up on the little things. I highly recommend the DVD with the commentary as it points these type of things out.

I'm not crazy about Cage, but this movie remains in my Top 5 of all time. I wish everyone could enjoy it as much as me.

"Then I'll be happy. Holy sh*t, then I'll be happy" - Peter Leow
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unnerve10 October 2000
A few of my friends use this film to test compatibility of potential mates. I knew I had to ditch my girlfriend when she didn't laugh. Not once, not ONE TIME! I am stunned that people are voting this film down. I'm extremely picky and rarely go to movies because I find most to be 'cheapy' but this is an INSPIRED piece of work by everyone from Nicolas Cage (his BEST performance - even better than "Leaving Las Vegas") to the director, ALL the actors and to the especially insane writer Joseph Minion of "After Hours" fame and one or two unproduced scripts I found funny if not disturbingly so. THIS IS A MUST SEE!! "Peter, right?" Yes! Peter! Right! "How are you?" How AM I?* "You know...A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z! That's all you have to DO!"
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A brilliant psychological study of a jilted lover.
Shemke Lemke30 October 2001
Okay, so Nicolas Cage eats a real cockroach. So the majority of the people who've seen this film don't understand the plotline. So black comedy is new to a late eighties audience. These points are minimal considering the great lengths to which the filmmakers go to to reveal the downfall of a hideous relationship between two people. A relationship gone so wrong that the male has to commit himself to therapy and conversely...murder.

Imagine a relationship wherein the woman was so soul sucking, so evil in her ways that you now feel as if she has sucked you dry - literally and figuratively - you are left as nothing but (in this case) a shell of a man - a walking corpse, yearning for the life's blood that she has stolen from you through your very own veins!

Cage gives the performance of his career and should have received an Oscar as the twisted, quintessential jilted lover who now desperately tries to recapture the joy of his most passionate and influential relationship by revisiting the empty, vampiretic bar hopping lifestyle where he found her - working his way through subsequent women, then just as unsatisfactorily moving his way through rape, suicidal tendencies and ultimately, murder.

It's tone is unforgiving alternating comedy and tragedy, confusing us as to whether he is really a vampire or just thinks he is. By flipping from his therapeutic sessions to his bitter and pathetic reality we see just how badly his male ego has taken rejection.

Here is a film where the simple plotline of a man being bitten by a vampire and believing he has become one becomes one where we see a man disintegrating before us, sliding into madness because he is forced to face his empty life.

His obsessive attention to detail, penchant for house bugs, absence of reflection in the mirror and avoidance of sunlight all match the prerequisites for vampirism, but his clumsy attempts at finding another woman and to fill the void that is left by a woman put so far onto a pedestal he cannot reach are overshadowed.

This is not a film for the feint of heart but for anyone who has ever been screwed over by a woman they have loved (or imagined they did) this is a welcome little cult revelation that makes them laugh and brood at the same time.
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