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Vampire’s Kiss (1988)—The Cagiest Cage Film to Exist

Vampire's Kiss movie poster

Nicolas Cage seems to be making a comeback recently with the film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. So much so that he is set to appear as Count Dracula in his upcoming film Renfield. And if you are excited for Nicolas Cage as the King of all Vampires, then you might be surprised to hear that it would not be the first time he has played a vampire. Vampire’s Kiss is not only a cult classic, but also a film that has garnered infamy for its internet meme status, particularly from Cage himself. But is there some merit to the actual story of the film?

Peter Loew (played by Nicolas Cage) is a young, successful literary agent who lives in New York by day and parties his life away by night. Although he is successful in seemingly every aspect of his life, he feels empty inside, with his mental health steadily declining. During a one night stand, he is attacked by a bat that flies through his window, startling yet arousing him. The next night he brings home a woman named Rachel (played by Jennifer Beals) who seemingly has vampire fangs and bites him. Peter believes that he is becoming a vampire as his insanity spirals out of control.

Nicolas Cage you don't say meme

Vampire’s Kiss comes across as an offbeat, yet unintentionally funny film with an outrageously ludicrous performance by the legendary Nicolas Cage. However, the film was intended by its writer, Joseph Minion, and director, Robert Bierman, to be taken completely seriously. The film was inspired by the feelings of depression and loneliness that stemmed from a toxic relationship. Under different circumstances, this could’ve been a really dark and dramatic film that would’ve been comparable to Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. However, Nicolas Cage’s exaggerated overacting did not play to the film’s darker undertones.

Cage is perhaps best known for his German expressionist-inspired style of acting, which while it lends itself perfectly for films such as John Woo’s Face Off, doesn’t quite have that same effect here for a more serious tone. Despite having some solid scenes, mostly depicting the steady decline of Peter’s mental state, Cage’s overall performance was extremely loud, brash and overacted. He is a legendary and extremely talented actor, as seen in films such as Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, Face Off and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, but in Vampire’s Kiss, he doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Nicolas Cage is a vampire

I will say there is an uncanny valley feeling throughout the entire film. It makes you question reality if what you’re seeing is actually happening or not, much like how Peter himself sees things around him. Unlike some other films that do this, Vampire’s Kiss does it in a way where you as the viewers are rather confused by what they’re seeing. The best way to describe this film is if American Psycho went on an acid trip. Cage is a rich young man who goes clubbing and brings home a different woman every night. The only difference is that Peter Loew is into vampires and kills because he thinks he’s a vampire, as opposed to Bateman who kills for fun.

Overall, Vampire’s Kiss is not only one of the most bizarre Nicolas Cage films I’ve seen, but also one of the most bizarre films I’ve seen in general. Despite the film being labeled as a black comedy, that doesn’t detract from its overall insane nature. It feels like it tries to be taken seriously while letting Cage get away with his over the top acting. Would I say this is a good film? I honestly don’t know. While there is some appeal to it, I personally didn’t enjoy it as a serious film. Had the film been made today, it could’ve gone through a grittier and darker direction. But as it is, besides getting a good laugh out of it, Vampire’s Kiss isn’t a Nick Cage film that I will be returning to time and time again.

Nicolas Cage and Jennifer Beals in Vampire's Kiss

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