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Blu-ray Review: Vampire’s Kiss / High Spirits [Double Feature]
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Vampire's Kiss on Scream Factory Blu-ray

Vampire’s Kiss
Blu-ray
Director: Robert Bierman
Screenwriter: Joseph Minion
Cast: Nicolas Cage, María Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals
Scream Factory
Rated R | 103 Minutes
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Synopsis: Teetering on the edge of sanity, volatile literary agent Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage) tries to find purpose in his life through a cutthroat work ethic and a hedonistic night life. But when an encounter with a mysterious beauty leaves Loew convinced that he is turning into a vampire, his behavior turns positively outrageous.

Robert Bierman was originally scheduled to direct the 1986 remake of The Fly, but withdrew from the project after the death of his daughter. Instead, Bierman’s feature-length debut was the 1989 black comedy, Vampire’s Kiss.

Imagine if you will, a young Nicolas Cage (hot off Raising Arizona and Moonstruck) in a business suit and plastic vampire fangs, screaming, “I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!” That pretty much sums up this bizarre, coked-out horror comedy. Even if you’ve never seen Bierman’s film, you probably know bits and pieces of it, thanks to YouTube’s impressive selection of “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit” montages.

Cage is OUT. OF. HIS. MIND in this movie, guys. At one point, he straight-up eats a cockroach. Unfortunately, the scene took three takes, so technically he ate THREE cockroaches. Say what you will about our greatest National Treasure (get it!?), but the man is a true artist willing to suffer for his craft.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe Vampire’s Kiss is a real film at times – it’s so completely unhinged, so unapologetically bat-shit crazy, that it defies reason. It’s worth picking up this Scream Factory Blu-ray release to hear Robert Bierman and Nicolas Cage discuss making the film on the included audio commentary.

“I’m a big believer in the ambiguous, and letting it be about whatever people want it to be about, but I always saw the movie as a story of a man whose loneliness and inability to find love literally drives him insane.” Sure, Nic, whatever you say! There are some pretty great bits throughout the commentary of Cage critiquing his own performance, with reactions like, “That! What is that!?

I’d be out of my mind to call it a masterpiece, but Vampire’s Kiss is twisted enough to warrant a watch, especially if you’ve never seen Nic Cage at his most deranged and unglued. THAT’S HIGH PRAISE!

High Spirits, directed by Neil Jordan, on Blu-ray from Scream Factory

High Spirits
Blu-ray
Director: Neil Jordan
Screenwriter: Neil Jordan
Cast: Daryl Hannah, Peter O’Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Liam Neeson
Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | Minutes
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Synopsis: When a castle-turned-hotel owned by Peter Plunkett (Peter O’Toole) falls on hard financial times, he comes up with an idea to turn the place into a tourist attraction by billing it as Europe’s most haunted castle. But just when it seems he’ll have to give up the ghost, some real phantoms show up — and they’re none too thrilled about being exploited.

With an impressive cast including Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, and Liam Neeson – and handsome production design, Neil Jordan‘s High Spirits has a lot going for it. Unfortunately, it never really lives up to its kooky premise.

The whole film is so low-level, so slight, that it feels more like an Irish sitcom. Supposedly, Jordan wanted his name removed from the finished product, and it’s easy to see why. Every silly gag falls flat, only to be buried under the crushing weight of another unfunny joke. The characters are one-dimensional cardboard stand-ups that exist solely to play off each other. There’s a sexy male ghost (Neeson) for the dissatisfied wife (D’Angelo) and the sensitive ghost-babe (Hannah) for the caring dweeb husband (Guttenberg). It’s so obvious and heavy-handed, there’s little to enjoy outside of the idea of ghosts haunting a castle full of tourists.

High Spirits is a comedy that isn’t funny, a romance that isn’t romantic, and a horror story that isn’t scary in the slightest. I can see why Scream Factory would include in a “Double Feature” release like this, because I can’t imagine anyone finding it worthy of a purchase on its own.

Vampire’s Kiss Trailer

High Spirits Trailer

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