Vampire’s Kiss: I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire!
Holy shit, what in the hell did I just watch?
This was without a doubt the funniest Cage movie I’ve watched so far. This movie hit a perfect NINE Cagemarks in less than 30 minutes. This movie is at least 75% Nicolas Cage screaming and crying. This movie was goddamn beautiful.
Alright, plot summary.
Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage) is an accountant or something. He takes a girl back to his apartment and a vampire bat flies in. He chases it out, they leave together.
He goes to work, where he yells at and berates his timid assistant, Alva. He’s a real dick, but it seems like this one document in the Der Spiegel file is really important, and Alva hasn’t found it yet.
Later that night, he goes to a bar and picks up another woman. When they get home, she is revealed to be a vampire and she drains his blood. The next morning, we find out that she was just a hallucination.
And then everything is all Nics up from here on out.
Nicolas Cage starts thinking he’s a vampire. He starts being afraid of the sun, he starts acting more and more violently and aggressively towards Alva, he eats a cockroach; you know, usual vampire stuff.
But he’s not a vampire. He’s just a delusional rich boy who’s abusing his power and the employee’s fear of losing her job to be cruel towards his employee. And he’s losing his goddamn mind.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. Cage gives his most wild and uninhibited performance ever. I’ve said that Cage is at his best when he plays an unhinged character, and this character is off the fucking wall unhinged.
He literally eats a cockroach; Nicolas Cage actually ate a cockroach for this movie. After attempting to turn Alva into a vampire, he starts sobbing and actually says “Boohoo” while crying. He screams the alphabet at his psychiatrist. When people think of Nicolas Cage’s bug-eyed, manic, constantly screaming performances, this is the movie that they are thinking of.
And yet I feel like there’s actually more to to script than just a black comedy B-movie. Cage’s character gives off a kind of Patrick Bateman vibe; you know that he’s delusional about being a vampire, but you’re never entirely sure what’s real or not. The focus of his cruelty and violence seems to be two women (Alva, his young, quiet, Catholic employee, and Jackie, a woman he is seeing at the beginning of the film). While this makes sense in the theme of vampires generally targeting women in mythology, we later learn that the woman he’s been hallucinating is actually an old ex-girlfriend from high school that he confronts in a club, insisting that she’s a vampire and has turned him into a vampire.
On the surface, this is a goofy, grim dark comedy that chuckles and guffaws at a man brazenly losing his mind, but under the skin, you realize that this is a story about a modern vampire. Cage’s character is a drain on these women through his cruel and violent actions; he abuses powers that he does have (power of attraction and power of employment) and then imagines that he’s using other, paranormal powers to control them. His insistence that his high school girlfriend, who barely recognizes him, has tainted him plays off of the insecurities of a man who should otherwise be satisfied with his life.
In one of the final scenes, Cage hallucinates that he visits his psychiatrist for a final time. He confesses to her that all he’s been looking for is love. She laughs and says that her other client is a perfect match for him, and he hallucinates the perfect woman into existence. Announcing that he’s cured, he walks off. In reality, he is shambling, unkempt, covered in blood, and dragging a stake with him. As he climbs the stairs to his apartment, he begins screaming at his hallucination, accusing her of constantly bringing up the time he was a vampire despite him asking her not to.
This is a man who believes that what he wants is a woman to love him, but the reality is that he wants to be able to love himself, and he is unable to bring himself to do that. He knows that he has wronged these women, and he does not forgive himself. He can’t accept that the taint, the evil has been inside of him all along.
I might be over-analyzing this goofy movie, but I felt like the script was actually much more clever than it was made out to be by reviews. It’s absolutely zany and wacky and hilariously over-dramatic, but there’s an interesting subtlety that I thought was really well-crafted.
Holy fuck, you guys, this is the first movie that earned a PERFECT NINE CAGEMARKS.
Shirtless: You bet he is. There’s a scene where he invites his hallucinatory girlfriend into the shower with him.
Shaving: Oh yeah, he does it, and he cuts himself, right on the neck (where a vampire would bite, get it?).
Cage Scream: The scene where he’s dragging a stake around and moaning might actually be my favourite Cage Scream of all time because of how fucking mournful it is. He’s screaming for most of the movie though.
Overacting: This whole movie is overacting. Right at the beginning, he’s doing this ridiculous British accent for no reason. Then we get this scene where he’s screaming the alphabet at his psychiatrist. And then we have this beautiful scene where he’s running down the street screaming “I’m a vampire!” over and over.
Underacting: Nicolas Cage does this weird hair brush thing after he chases the bat out of his apartment and I can’t explain it but it’s the weirdest fucking thing. He’s also got this kind of surf bro accent throughout most of the movie and it’s fantastically lazy.
Weird dialogue: “I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!”
Describing violence: He describes fighting off the bat. He describes being drunk and horny. At the end he casually mentions that he murdered somebody at a nightclub. This movie just never stops.
Running: “I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!”
Kissing: Oh yeah you better believe that Nicolas Cage is making out with a naked woman not four minutes into this movie.
I mean, you can’t get more Cage than this movie. It’s stellar. It’s batshit. It’s fun, it’s dangerous, it’s exceedingly uncomfortable at various points, but holy fuck is it ever Cage.
There are mimes doing a weird domestic abuse skit outside his apartment. The bat at the beginning is hilariously fake. The music is bizarrely sinister at all times. Cage bites a person to death.
I don’t know what anybody was thinking making this movie, but they made it, and that’s just wonderful.
May you always I’M A VAMPIRE! I’M A VAMPIRE! I’M A VAMPIRE!
P.S. David Hyde Pierce (Niles Crane in Frasier) and John Michael Higgins (Wayne Jarvis in Arrested Development) are in it as extras. Just a neat little thing for you to think about.