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October 25, 1990|MARK CHALON SMITH

"The Thing" (1951), directed by Christian Nyby. 87 minutes. No rating. Among the first in a spate of '50s sci-fi films, this black-and-white movie is said to have inspired many contemporary filmmakers and movies. It's intentionally spare and direct, but there's wit in the script: The alien turns out to be a vegetable.

"Vampire's Kiss" (1989), directed by Robert Bierman. 96 minutes. Rated R. A contemporary spin on the vampire fantasy, with Nicolas Cage as a neurotic New Yorker who thinks a one-night stand (Jennifer Beals) has turned him into Dracula. May be too offbeat for horror fans, but this clever, cartoon-ish metaphor has bite.

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