Nicholas Cage has somewhat of a famous reputation for his over the top acting. It’s not always clear whether a character he plays is supposed to be crazy, of if it’s just good old Nicholas putting his spin on things. It is with this slightly bemused attitude that I came to watch Vampire’s Kiss. A 1988 film starring Nicholas Cage as Peter Lowe who, after a particularly successful evening with a mysterious woman, appears to start turning into a vampire.
Vampire’s Kiss follows the daily life of publishing executive Peter Lowe. After getting a call from a client, who wants to look over an old contract, Peter becomes obsessed with trying to find the missing paperwork. He takes this frustration out on one of his assistants, Alva, who is told to go through all of the companies previous contracts on top of her current work load. During this time Peter becomes obsessed with the vampiress (Jennifer Beals) that keeps visiting him at night and stopping him from patching things up with his, now, ex-girlfriend.
The story itself is nothing special but all of the above is merely the back story for the focus on the film, which is where it starts to get interesting. Peter Lowe not only struggles with his Vampiric thoughts but slowly starts to go insane. He starts wearing sunglasses to work, tries to provoke people into killing him, and upturns his sofa to act as a make-shift coffin. While Nicholas Cage’s acting was just funny, the plot started to suggest a character that was over stressed. Curiosity started to settle around Peter, as the audience has to stop and wonder what is made up in his head and what is reality. Vampire’s Kiss enjoys blurring these lines around the main character, subtly hinting through the reaction of others and small details of what happened previously, like assuming that the plaster on Peter’s neck is to hide a vampire bite, but didn’t he cut himself shaving earlier in the film?
Vampire’s Kiss is really something you have to experience for yourself. The film was made in the 80s, which is obvious through certain effects and nightclub scenes. Most of the interest and humour is clearly fuelled by Nicholas Cage himself, and many of the other actors are nothing special, but you find yourself becoming really invested in them, Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso) in particular as she has to deal with all of Peter Lowe’s rage, stress and obsession.
Vampire’s Kiss shows Nicholas Cage at his best, it’s where a lot of his internet famous pictures and phrases have come from. Fans of the actor are missing out if they haven’t seen him in action, in this film. Despite the silliness however, I was struck with questioning whether or not the film would have worked without him? The story is interesting in and of itself, it’s thought-provoking and quite dark at times, thus deserving an audience. Without Nicholas Cage, however, it probably would have become forgotten, but with him it enters into the list of ‘classic Nicholas Cage films’ and will get more of the attention that it deserves.
Directed By: Robert Bierman
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso and Jennifer Beals
Screenplay By: Joseph Minion