Sunday, March 13, 2011

NIC CAGE MONTH: Vampire's Kiss (1988)

Director: Robert Bierman
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso

"Alva, there is no one else in this entire office that I could possibly ask to share such a horrible job. You're the lowest on the totem pole here, Alva. The lowest. Do you realize that? Every other secretary here has been here longer than you, Alva. Every one. And even if there was someone here who was here even one day longer than you, I still wouldn't ask that person to partake in such a miserable job as long as you were around. That's right, Alva. It's a horrible, horrible job; sifting through old contract after old contract. I couldn't think of a more horrible job if I wanted to. And you have to do it! You have to or I'll fire you. You understand? Do you? Good."
-Nic Cage, giving one of his famous pep speeches to his secretary 

Okay, seriously. Whatever crack addled minds in 1989 made this movie were clearly prophesizing Nicolas Cage’s eventual rise to Internet stardom. I mean almost every time he freaks out in this movie, it’s begging to become an internet meme. This movie isn’t even that good! It’s pretty much just ‘watch Nic Cage freak out, laugh at it, and then wait for the next time while being bored at the rest of the movie’s plodding pace.’ The soundtrack is a late 80s synth nightmare and the production values look more like something out of the 70s - it’s like Nic Cage’s equivalent to Hercules in New York.

Yes folks...this is Vampire's Kiss.

I mean, this shit is just insane. The basic plot is as follows: Nic Cage is the head of some literary editing company or something, and he loves to harass his secretary Alva, who quite literally lives in fear of him by the end of the movie. He starts going crazier and crazier in his loneliness in the urban city setting, and when he sleeps with a strange hooker (who comes back again and again to suck more of his blood as the movie goes on), he starts to think he is a vampire, thus going even crazier and getting even more violent with his secretary. At the end of the film, he is unceremoniously murdered with a stake in his dilapidated and wrecked apartment by the brother of the terrified secretary.

The two plots (the vampire thing and the secretary thing) don’t really even make a lot of sense together. It’s kind of like the writers were halfway through the script, coming up with these clever metaphors for struggling in life, when the director approached them and said, “Hey, we just got Nicolas Cage to sign on for this. You don’t really have to write anymore. We’ll just have him jump all over the place and scream a lot, and you can still get paid for the half script you did write.”

The writers then had their eyes physically replaced with dollar signs, and that was that.

The movie’s pace is pretty flawed, as I said before, as it’s just too slow and too plodding when Nic Cage isn’t absolutely losing his shit. You’re literally just sitting there watching this movie waiting for the next freak out, because the parts where he isn’t freaking out are just flat out boring. The dialogue isn’t that good and the story is a bit stale – nothing that wasn’t done better by Cemetery Man or American Psycho in years to come. The sole reason to watch this movie is for Nic Cage.

But isn’t that what NIC CAGE MONTH is for, I ask you?

Let’s go through some of the highlights, shall we?

Look at all that rage! Man, that’s insane. And the way he calms down right at the end to say “And you call yourself a psychiatrist”…how can you not be TOTALLY CONVINCED this man is not completely insane, on heavy drugs, or both? He’s just so into this.

“THERE YOU ARE!” I didn't know people his age still got that enthusiastic about hide and seek...

We’ve all had moments like this, haven’t we? Those moments where you think you’re a vampire so you run down the street screaming about it and…oh, what’s that? Nobody’s had those but me? Oh, well OK then.

I just love how obsessed he is with his secretary and with finding those files. It should be sad and scary how creepy he is with stalking her and all, but this is just SO HAMMY. There’s literally nothing else on his warped mind but finding her and making her do the job she’s already trying so hard to do. Imagining it from her point of view is both funnier and even more terrifying. One of which may be more prominent, depending on your point of view.

So, yeah, I think that’s evidence enough. The Vampire’s Kiss is batshit insane. If you like Nic Cage, this is mandatory, but just don’t go in expecting much more than a silly curiosity. Now, I'm off to drink more blood and work on my freaking out in front of the camera.

"It's a very IMPORTANT job!"