Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Love Bites – review

Director: Marvin Jones

Release Date: 1992

Contains spoilers

There have been a few unrelated vampire films with the title Love Bites. There was the wonderfully black comedy of the 2001 movie and then there was the vehicle for eighties pop musician Adam Ant which was the 1993 movie. This flick, released in 1992, was an openly gay vampire movie.

Now, it is low budget but it is, in parts, genuinely funny and deliberately so as the cast take virtually every gay stereotype, make it their own and throw it at the camera. It might not be high art but it was good camp fun.

It begins with two men. Jake Hunter (Tom Wagner) has brought a man (Erich Lange) home but rather than be intimate with him – despite his companion wearing naught but a towel – he wants to tell the man all about vampires. Jake has a range of movie posters in his room, though the only vampire one is for Once Bitten.

vampire books contain vamp addresses!
The doorbell goes and Jake assumes UPS, which it is. They have delivered a book he has ordered regarding vampires. It even carries addresses of the undead and there is a Count living in Hollywood (I know, just go with it!) Of course, his gentleman friend is even less impressed and, as there seems to be no rumpy pumpy on offer, he leaves. Jake, however, has a mission to plan.

meeting Leslie
He goes to the Count’s address and finds the door open. Inside he meets a man, Leslie (Christopher Ladd) – the campest guy I think you’ll ever find. There is some confusion as Jake thinks Leslie is a vampire and, for his part, Leslie (an escort by trade) assumes that Jake is his client, paid for by his roommate. Of course that isn’t the case and then the house owner appears.

The Count, Manfield and Leslie
He is the Count (Kevin M Glover) and he paid for Leslie to accompany his bug eating servant Manfield (Bernard Barnes Jarvis). This then leaves the question of who Jake might be… He tells the Count that he is a stripper who came to the wrong house (and his bag of vampire slaying tools is a bag of props). He takes opportunity to leg it with Leslie (who is rather drunk) but not before we find out that the Count believes that, after 347 years of one night stands, he thinks he is in love... with Jake.

back into the lair
The next day Leslie wakes up in Jake’s bed – who did not take advantage of him – and, after some convincing, accompanies Jake back to the Count’s home. This persuading also touches on the feelings Jake is trying to repress. When Jake asks who ever heard of a nice vampire, Leslie retorts who ever heard of a gay one? When Jake asks his new friend whether he had ever seen a vampire movie, Leslie confesses no, but he has seen the Wizard of Oz 62 times! Leslie is unimpressed at the overalls provided for a disguise but eventually puts them on.

wannabe vampire hunter
Manfield has gone out and Jake and Leslie find a coffin in the living room. Wondering if he is naked, Leslie is told by Jake that vampires always sleep in evening wear – actually it turns out that he is wearing Care Bear pyjamas. Jake cannot bring himself to kill the vampire but what will happen when he wakes and discovers that Jake is not a stripper with a bad sense of direction but actually a wannabe vampire hunter?

more traditional wear
Okay, it was rubbish, shot straight to video with about three or four locations/sets but it was genuinely amusing in places and heart-warmingly sincere. It made use of Swan Lake – famously the opening theme of Dracula – and had a bravely ambiguous ending. All of that doesn’t make it a great film, of course, but it was at least entertaining. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

Love Bites [VHS] at Amazon US

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