Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Kiss of the Vampire
Directed by Directed by Joe Tornatore
Written by Written by Katherine Hawks
Starring Starring Martin Rove, Costas Mandylor, Gary Daniels, Phil Fondacaro
Produced by Produced by Frank D. Russo, Frederic Holzberger, Katherine Hawkes, Joe Tornatore
I really, truly hate movies like this.
By now it’s probably no secret that, with only a very few exceptions, I hate vampire movies. Why? Because most of them are the same thing, over and over again. Oh, sure, I’ll watch a new one when it comes out, on the off chance that it’s actually halfway decent, but I’m generally disappointed.
Like I said, there are only a handful of exceptions to my distaste for vampire movies—tops among them are 30 Days of Night and John Carpenter’s Vampires. These two qualify as exceptions to my vampire movie hate-on because they treat the vampire mythos in a fashion that’s thoroughly out of the ordinary. But more on that later.
First, the plot—a group of vampires (anyone else know they were called a “coven”? that’s what the back of the box says) has taken up residence in a small town that apparently isn’t too far from the opera district. One of these vampires attends an opera (and oh yes, there will be opera.) where he meets the girl of his dreams and falls in love. This, in retrospect, is a bad move because no less than the Illuminati (you totally didn’t misread that. I mean the absolute Illuminati. Like Steve Jackson Games Illuminati) will use said dream girl as a pawn in part of a grandiose and thoroughly ludicrous plan to gain immortality…through vampirism.
The joke is, I’m not joking.
Now, back to the earlier point—there are two major reasons why I hate Kiss of the Vampire:
1. It Is A Gigantic Pile of More Of The Same.
For those familiar with the vampire clans of Vampire The Eternal Struggle, another collectible card game much like Illuminati, making me wonder if Katherine Hawks and Joe Tornatore just spend WAY too much time in comic book stores, you’ll recognize the names I’m about to drop. I’ve always considered the 30 Days of Night vampires more Malkavian, being incurably insane and megalomaniacal vampires. And the John Carpenter’s Vampires version, based loosely on the fantastic Allan Steakley novel Vampire$, are a lot more Brujah, being a bit more anarchical in their lifestyle. Meanwhile, pretty much every other vampire movie ever made is almost exclusively Ventrue, being pompous, power-hungry and haughty above all else. Think Interview With A Vampire times a whole lot and you’ve got the general idea, I’d say. If Kiss of the Vampire were any more Ventrue, it would get sued into insensate oblivion. This is the big problem—most vampire movies have their vampires straight-mince around, sighing and expressing their angst and ennui in thoroughly poetic terms between bouts of sucking blood. This one goes so far as to include opera.
2. It Refuses To Stop Sucking.
And not just necks either, ba-DUM-bum! No…this movie will suck from start to finish. The vampires will frequently crouch down in a pose that suggests “looka me! I’m gonna POUNCE you!” and hiss in thoroughly vampire fashion. Assuming, of course, all you know about vampires comes from the Friday night LARP your college gaming club ran. Actors were apparently selected for their ability to go without blinking for up to thirty seconds at a time. Fight scenes are a joke—a poorly choreographed joke at that!—and you can forget about anything even resembling a special effect. Watching a vampire hunter (yes of COURSE there’s a vampire hunter) get staked basically involves a cutaway shot to him with some fake blood on his mouth. And trust me…the guy’s not a good enough actor to convincingly carry off “two feet of oak suddenly inserted in my lungs” so the overall effect is just lost.
So that’s a good summary of my problems with this movie. Oh, wait…I’ve got one more. The ENDING.
The ending is a new low in outlandish, idiotic plot twists. It’s going to involve heads floating in outer space and more vampire hissing. Above the earth. No, I’m serious.
The special features include audio options, Spanish subtitles, cast bios, and trailers for Kiss of the Vampire, Ghosts of Goldfield, Spiker and Blood Wars.
All in all, yet another truly lousy vampire movie has come and gone, and unless you can’t get enough of the sappy angsty soap opera that is Clan Ventrue, then I advise you to stock up on the garlic for this one.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
Got a problem? E-mail us at email@example.com