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VIDEO DISCOVERY

'Vampire's Kiss': A Metaphor With Bite

August 23, 1990|MARK CHALON SMITH

"Vampire's Kiss," a contemporary spin on the vampire fantasy, is blessed by Joseph Minion's satiric script, director Robert Bierman's comic take on sex and gorged materialism, and Nicolas Cage's over-the-top portrayal of a neurotic New Yorker who thinks he's a Dracula for the '80s.

Cage, one of our most risk-taking actors (now being seen in David Lynch's "Wild at Heart"), risks plenty here, metamorphosing from an obnoxious dandy of a literary agent to a blood-starved loony prowling the streets of Manhattan. The twist is that all this vampiring may be in his head, a manic extension of his womanizing and yuppie self-interest.

Cage always surprises in weird, funny ways--to complete his nightmare, he goes out and buys costume vampire teeth and works his malleable face into some amazing contortions. As the one-night stand he thinks turned him into a vampire, Jennifer Beals is able to shift from upscale coyness to sexy mysteriousness.

"Vampire's Kiss" certainly has its tasteless patches, and it may be too kinky and out of the mainstream for devoted horror fans. But it is inventive and clever, a cartoonish metaphor that has bite.

"Vampire's Kiss" (1989), directed by Robert Bierman. 96 minutes. Rated R.

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