Vampire's Kiss (1989)
Directed by Robert Bierman
Friday, August 24, at Film Society of Lincoln Center, part of its "Midnight Movies"
Peter Loew—successful lit agent, one of Manhattan's slicked-hair, professional elite—is headed as inexorably for insanity as Vampire's Kiss—the movie stacked up around him—is headed for a midnight screening. It's unavoidable: Loew is played by Nicolas Cage, after all, who halfway through starts taking his cues from Klaus Kinski, and as avatar of yuppie excess he will not be contained by daytime screenings—or mirrors, or heaven forbid your tiny personal screen!
Director Robert Bierman starts this 1989 movie with shots of Manhattan's Gothiest architecture—the Woolworth Building, the Radiator Building, that one (or several?) skyscrapers topped with a little pyramid—and continues into the office of Loew's shrink, whom he's been seeing for a while, but, we soon gather, ineffectually. At first he passes for an eccentric, as a girl at the office puts it—skipping out of a date at the New Museum (which we've all felt like doing!), wearing socks during sex—but then, bitten on the neck by one of his one-night stands (or is he?!), he progresses to snack on a live roach, to murder, to rape, and to run through downtown clacking plastic vamp teeth.
Proto-Patrick Bateman he might be. But that more efficacious fortunate son has nothing on the nuttiness here—Cage shouts, hunches, rolls, trashes his apartment, sings the alphabet just so we know he can, and searches painstakingly through a Rolodex for his secretary's address, just so he can continue to torment her at home. He also rages about the filing system at the office—perhaps, poor untimely soul, he's just been undone by the difficulties of the pre-digital age.