Vampire's Kiss - Vampire's Kiss( Blu Ray & DVD) [Koch Films - 2020]Vampire's Kiss is a film that skirts & darts through both horror and comedy- but never fully settles in either. I guess it's best to describe it as a very dark satire, or possibly a grimly whimsically modern fairy tale. The film focus on pompous & arrogant literary agent- who may or may not have been bitten by a vampire- in the lead role is Nicolas Cage offering up some classic over the top acting, but the film around him is certainly very difficult to fully pin into one genre. Here on Koch Media is a duel Blu Ray & DVD release of the film, that’s presented in a glossy red media book format.
Vampire's Kiss (aka Vampire's Kiss: Ein beißendes Vergnügen) was filmed in 1988, but didn’t get released until 1990- the film was a US production, though had both English & German Lanange release- hence this release is released in Germany. The film was the first feature film from British director/ producer Robert Bierman- who has around twenty credits to his name, though most of these are in UK TV drama such as The Bill, Casualty, and Waking The Dead. Vampire's Kiss is well filmed & executed, with certainly a lot of gothic tropes/ nods turning up in the films largely very 1980’s setting. At times it feels a tad stage-like, as a lot of the films runtime takes time in either apartment or offices- though we do get some effective night club scenes.
The film is centred around New York City literary agent Peter Loew(Nicolas Cage)- who is both conceited & very smug- basically treating most people in a condescending and belittling manner. One night he takes back one of his on/off girlfriends to his apartment, they start getting it on then all of a sudden a Bat appears and starts attacking the pair- they flee. Then after a few therapy sessions with his shrink Dr. Glaser(Elizabeth Ashley)- he goes out clubbing again, taking home a hot ‘n’ horny African American lady- who seemingly turns out to be a vamp, as in the throngs of passion she bites his neck & drinks some of the red stuff. What unfolds is a 'is he vampire, or having a breakdown' plot- thrown into this we a constantly berated young female assistant, more visits to the shrink- and of course Cage getting more & more manic & off the rails- all moving towards a very downbeat & decidedly tragic end.
As you’d expect Cage is central to the film's impact & entertainment, to be fair without him in the lead role it wouldn’t have worked as well, and would have been forgotten long ago with many of the other vamp focused fare that appeared in the ’80s. He goes from been smug & obnoxious, wired, and quirky, through to complete deranged & unhinged- as he skates between hamminess & manically inspired. The rest of the cast is good to passable- Ashley is well placed as the at the first uncaring later concerned shrink, Maria Conchita Alonso is very relatable and at times darkly amusing as his belittled & berated assistant. The gothic touches reborn in the 1980’s high rise canyons are well-realized, and we also get direct nods back to early vamp cinema like the original Nosferatu. If anything the pace could have done with a little tightening up in the first quarter of the film- as it seems to take a little time to fully take off. But all in all Vampire's Kiss is a distinctive vamp picture, with of course great OTT acting from Cage- though as I mentioned in my introduction it is difficult to pigeon hole as either a horror or comedy, as it darts yet never settles in either... so that may put off some.
Moving onto this duel release of the film- the two-disc are presented in an eye-catching bright blood red media book- this features a twenty-page booklet with german texts & stills. The two discs are placed inside a Blu ray casing on either end of the book- the Blu Ray is region B, and DVD region 2. The Blu Ray features the longer 103 minute cut of the film, and the DVD features a 99-minute version- I only watched the Blu Ray. On the extras side, we get a commentary track featuring Cage & Robert Bierman- and this is rather good. They begin about talking about at first how Cage, turned down the role after initially excepting it, due to pressure from his management, and how Judd Nelson(The Breakfast Club) nearly played the role. Moving onto talk about how Cage selected his decidedly quirky & pompous continental accent. They move onto talk about the films often chaotic shooting, casting other parts, and much more- it’s a real down-to-earth, amusing & honest track- which is worth a play. Also on the discs, we get a few different German versions of the trailer, a US trailer & gallery. The print looks good, and you can select whether to play the film with its German or English soundtrack- with various subtitle options.
All told this is a nice classy presentation of this distinctive 80’s Vamp picture- sure there are no extras, but the commentary track is very good as is the print. To pick up a copy of this direct head here to Koch MediaRoger Batty