Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage) is an eccentric womanising literary agent in Manhattan. He is the epitome of ‘80s yuppie narcissism and greed, treating sexual partners like disposable playthings. He works all day and picks up lovers at the club by night – but spends a few hours on the weekend scaring his chic psychiatrist (Elizabeth Ashley) with terrifying confessions of his mental state.
He speaks in a bizarre demented lowbrow version of a British accent and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
One night, a bat gets into his apartment. Then he meets the gorgeous Rachel (Jennifer Beals) who sinks her teeth into his neck in a moment of passion (while he’s making love in his socks, vest and underpants). He concludes that she’s a vampire and he’s her victim.
Our already demented hero subsequently goes completely batty. He dons Raybans and plastic vampire teeth, dines on live cockroaches (Cage really did eat cockroaches for the scene), takes to sleeping under his sofa during the daylight hours and stands in front of mirrors wondering why he can’t see his reflection (we can).
Bearing the brunt of his madness is his poor secretary Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso). Becoming obsessed by a missing contract, he makes Alva’s life hell when she’s unable to locate it. He harangues her as an idiot and chases her into the ladies’ lavatory where she seeks refuge. The scene culminates in her firing a gun at the floor, begging him not to rape her, while he – in turn – begs her to kill him.
Vampire’s Kiss flopped upon its theatrical release. The film has no arc, no climax and no ending, and the scattershot editing looks like it was cut with a blowtorch.
But Cage is a magnetic resourceful presence and an absolutely fearless actor.
You’re not likely to see anything close to what he does in Vampire’s Kiss for a long time.
Maria Conchita Alonso
John Michael Higgins
David Hyde Pierce
Secretary in Ladies Room
Helen Lloyd Breed
Dr Glazer’s Lover