Vampire’s Kiss (1988) Review

The movie that launched a million memes. There are compilation videos to be found of crazy moments of Nicholas Cage acting, and chances are that at least a couple of those scenes come from this movie. So, what is it all about? Cage plays a businessman, some executive – doesn’t really matter – and he goes to therapy because he believes that he is being visited by a vampire. He believes that he is being sucked dry, turned into a vampire, but it might just be all in his head.

Nicholas Cage is acting weird from the very beginning of the film. He uses a strange accent and does a very fake high-spirited laugh. Nowadays, his strange acting is an established fact, something many people have all sorts of opinions about. It is even said that Cage was really trying to do more than just being crazy. He was trying to push the envelope of what acting usually is, as an established, accepted form of art. He acts strange in quite serious films and his antics are always meant to be dramatic within the context of the film. In other words, he is not trying to be Jim Carrey. He is trying to be Nicholas Cage, and that is deliberately unlike any other actor.

And I find myself enjoying it a lot.

As Mr. Loew (Cage) is slowly losing his mind, he is also slowing becoming a bigger and bigger asshole. His behavior is mostly just bewildering, not only to his colleagues and the girl he is trying to date, but also to the audience. There isn’t really a character to root for, since he’s strange from the beginning, and that just makes the whole point of the film a mystery. Maybe there is a deeper point to it than just laughing about Cage being weird. The story might be a metaphor for porn addiction, for example.

We enter definite black comedy territory as Cage’s condition worsens. He never really seems to turn into a vampire so it must all be in his head. This is where the movie gets divisive for viewers. Cage starts terrorizing a coworker, eats a cockroach, buys fake vampire teeth and does many more unusual and disturbing things. For a while, any message that the film had, like I speculated above, is gone, and the film is taken over by Cage doing a drunken Nosferatu impression.

But those little, tentative themes about love and addiction do crop up near the end. In general, Mr. Loew is surrounded by romantic couples. We see them in the background in all the places he visits, so love and loneliness do form a sort of rickety skeleton of a framework for the story, which is then filled in by Cage’s antics. The main goal was to shock the audience, and so I would recommend it to people who want to be shocked by Cage’s performances. He wanted to push himself here, but it is marketed for it as well.


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