Sunday, December 07, 2008

Love Bites – review

posterDirected by: Malcolm Marmorstein

Release date: 1993

Contains spoilers

Not to be confused with the later French movie of the same title this was a 90s vampire comedy but whilst the later film had a streak of black comedy through it, a mile wide, this film was more a gentle romantic comedy and was definitely of an age. That said it does kind of work still and there is a very specific reason why.

rising after 100 yearsNew York and the city is swept by a storm. Casual couple Kendall (Kimberly Foster) and Dwight (Roger Rose) reach her house. He is asking her to marry him, she is divorced and he’s been divorced twice - thus they are, in his opinion, perfect for each other. She, on the other hand, has an idealistic dream of finding the perfect man. The lightning causes a candelabrum to fall in a hidden crypt, striking the ornate coffin and waking the resident. As Kendall exclaims with regard the lightening, Dwight thinks he has a yes. He leaves offering to fax a prenuptial agreement through.

self defence 1990 styleKendall goes to bed whilst, in the crypt, our vampire – Zachary Simms (Adam Ant) – climbs out of the coffin and falls. He seems very much the simple fool at this point. He pulls a lever and opens a secret fireplace door into Kendall’s home. He climbs the stairs and tries to have his toothsome way with Kendall – who assumes it is Dwight back until Dwight leaves an answer phone message. Cue Kendall beating Zachary and assuming he is a sexual deviant whilst he comes to turns with the fact that he has slept 100 years and the world is very different. He tries to leave but the sun comes up and he ends up in her bed – sunlight leaves him for all intents and purpose dead for the day rather than causing annihilation – having asked her to put him in his crypt should he oversleep again.

he has fangs...Kendall feels his hand, it is ice cold, and finds no pulse. She pulls his lips back and finds fangs. She becomes convinced he is a vampire. She phones the police and we get a generally unfunny conversation with Sergeant Farfalloni (Judy Tenuta) a pointless character who reappears towards the end of the film and shows that the comedy of the film works because of specific actors. Kendall goes to work and, whilst there, researches vampires.

checking in on the vampire house guestShe gets home and holding a cross (we get no indication later whether crosses have an effect) and wearing a neck brace for protection she checks on her guest – who is still dead to the world. She then goes looking in the crypt. Meanwhile Dwight turns up and ends up stripping to his underwear, rubbing on the covered up Zachary, whom he assumes is Kendall, until he pulls the covers back. Kendall comes up from the crypt and there is a farcical level confusion sequence as she tries to explain what happened and Dwight misinterprets everything on a sexual level.

Michelle Forbes as NerissaWe then get Zachary waking, and discover that he was born in England before moving to Boston in 1660. He was turned by a vampire named Nerissa (Michelle Forbes) – turning involves repeated biting – and they were together for 100 years until she discovered politics, left him and he went into a huff. Kendall takes him out to see the new world and even takes him to a party. He seems the gentle buffoon and the comedy is pretty much based around being a fish out of water. He decides he likes this new world, he feels he finally has found a century to which he belongs, and so wishes to become human again.

humanising with foodThere is a way and it involves a program of reviving the digestive system. It will take a year to humanise him and he can only really do it with Kendall’s help – involving force feeding him milk, pasta and eventually getting him onto pizza. Meanwhile Dwight hires a PI (Philip Bruns) to investigate him, Kendall and Zachery fall in love and Narissa comes back onto the scene. Ultimately it is him becoming a 1990s man that will strain the relationship, stopping him being the slightly archaic buffoon Kendall fell for and transforming him into any other business guy… Can their relationship survive?

gentle humour with light buffooneryThe humour is very light throughout and there is little darkness to it, even the yuppyish aspects are light. However this works for one main reason; Adam Ant. He comes across so personably, with just the right level of buffoonery, childlike awe and archaic turn of phrase that this really does hit the mark. It is cheesy – 90s cheesy, which is even worse – but he adds something to it. The presence of Michelle Forbes doesn’t hurt either as she adds something to everything she is in and, of course, she is playing a vampire.

Adam Ant at Zachary SimmsNot the easiest movie to get hold of, it is worth keeping an eye out for. 5.5 out of 10 is achieved through Adam Ant’s performance. Just a little bit of additional trivia, director/writer Marmorstein also wrote on the original vampire/gothic soap Dark Shadows and wrote the frustratingly poor Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary.

The imdb page is here.

;) Q