As with my other review for the Shout Factory double feature Love at First Bite and Once Bitten, Shout Factory’s 2 movie sets are just awesome for pre-made movie nights with a group of friends. And this double feature is no exception with Vampire’s Kiss/High Spirits.
Vampire’s Kiss stars Nicolas Cage as Peter Leow, a publishing executive who falls for a mysterious woman (Jennifer Beals) who bites Peter during their encounter. After their tryst, Peter starts to question who exactly the woman was and believes he has been bitten by a vampire. As Peter’s possible delusion goes on, his behaviour becomes more and more erratic as he tries to come to terms with his new fate. Unfortunately for his secretary Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso), all of his madness ends up directed at her as Peter tries to retain some grasp of reality.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you just how bizarre Vampire’s Kiss is. Cage has a solid reputation for over the top performances but I can’t think of one that even comes close to the sheer manic insanity that is the role of Peter Leow. Cage is simply off the rails and I am sure director Robert Bierman must have just agreed to let Cage loose to do whatever the hell he wanted. The result is one of the most brilliantly over the top performances I have ever seen from any actor. Cage gained some notoriety during the release of this film for a scene in which he actually ate a live cockroach, but that is the least crazy thing about his performance in my opinion, Vampire’s Kiss really has to be seen to be believed.
High Spirits was released in 1988 and was obviously one in a long line of films trying to capitalize on the success of the Ghostbusters franchise. Peter O’Toole plays Peter Plunkett, the owner of an Irish castle turned hotel that is on the verge of being repossessed. To try and drum up some business with visiting American’s, Plunkett has his staff participate in passing off the castle as haunted, making it a much more intriguing place to stay overnight. But with a new busload of tourists comes some real ghosts that want to take up residence in the castle.
High Spirits is actually much more than a Ghostbusters rip off, it is a highly imaginative and quite unique comedy horror that works very well. In addition to the pedigree O’Toole brings to the proceedings, the cast is rounded out with Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Daryl Hannah, Peter Gallagher and Martin Ferrero. Guttenberg and D’Angelo play a married couple staying at the hotel, D’Angelo being the daughter of the man holding the mortgage and determined to debunk the hotel, and Guttenberg being the husband who meets Daryl Hannah’s beautiful ghost and falls for her. The story runs at a solid pace, contains some great laughs and has a nice love story at its heart. It makes for a great double feature with either of the films in the other 2 pack, Once Bitten or Love at First Bite, but I think Vampire’s Kiss is a little hard to pair with anything. But a great 2 pack nonetheless.
--- VAMPIRE'S KISS ---
Commentary With Director Robert Bierman And Actor Nicolas Cage
103 / 99 min
ASPECT RATIO ?
103 min 99 min