Confession time: I am a vampire film connoisseur. There are very few decent vampire films I have not seen. Actually only one, because I can't get it on streaming ... yet. So, in truth, I am a bit biased.
KISS OF THE DAMNED cover art isn't bad really, but, its not a cover that would have ever drawn me to the movie. It was the Amazon alsoboughts that sucked me in. Kiss of the Damned showed up in the alsoboughts of several good vampire films, so, I watched the trailer and was intrigued enough to one-click on the streaming video.
But if the cover hasn't convinced you, try this on for size:
What I got for my oneclick was a brooding, atmospheric and highly erotic vampire romance thriller. Suprisingly good, without being the slightest bit cheesy or campy. This is one of those rare films that uses zero special effects, yet manages to precisely convey the dark, erotic and deadly nature of vampires.
Call me impressed.
I would love to see a sequel to this film, shit, a series of sequels.
This is one of those rare moments when I absolutely love Indie filmmakers for doing a movie that Hollywood would never do, yet in so many ways its far superior to the standard vampire tripe coming out of Hollywood.
To be honest, this kind of drama is what the Dark Shadows remake could have been, if the filmmakers had taken it seriously instead of churning out a raunchy, slapstick comedy. This is vampire erotic drama AT ITS BEST.
We have a writer, Paolo, on vacation in the countryside, trying to use the solitude to write a screenplay. He sees our unusually alluring redhead vampire, Djuna, at a video rental store, and follows her outside into the rain. She does her best to push him away, while simultaneously seducing him. They end up at her home, an out of the way mansion, and things get a little steamy -- then wham! She shuts him down and puts him out the door.
It was for his own good of course. These vampires kill people when they feed, more often than not. And as we learn later in the story, leaving a bitten victim to turn is a no-no, unless you are willing to take on responsibility for shepherding the new vamp into the fold.
Paolo is utterly smitten with vampire Djuna, and simply will not take no for an answer. They have the most interesting vampire makeout scene ever -- when she inadvertently bites his tongue and starts sucking the blood right from his mouth.
From then on, Djuna has no choice but to reveal the truth, while naked and chained to the bed. (Never has a more interesting vampire revelation scene been filmed -- never)
Paolo is fascinated, aroused, and proceeds to play with fire by unchaining this smoking hot naked vampire, and having one of the best vampire sex scenes ever filmed. True Blood directors could learn a thing or two from this dark, sexy film. And, of course, Paolo is bitten, and subsequently turned.
He's alarmingly calm about the whole deal. But, the plus side is that Paolo now understands the allure of the violence his Agent wants him to write into his screenplays (before being turned he was some kind of literary prude about violence).
Seems like it was filmed in the European countryside, considering Djuna is French and has an accent, and the overall retro 70's-erotic-horror feel of the film, but, its actually rural America, with a couple scenes of philosophical American vamps sitting around lamenting about how it sucks that they must hide out from the world.
Raven-haired Mimi is the in-your-face complication to an otherwise idyllic love story.
Mimi revels in the savagery of her life as a vampire. She hunts human prey, seduces them, and kills them right in mid-orgasm (True Blood can suck on that one). If I had to choose my death, that's not a bad way to go really. Mimi, the bad sister vamp, constantly subverts Djuna's peice of mind and fragile control over her savage urges. Mimi is the temptress who makes everything in life interesting, but also destroys the relationships of everyone around her.
She's the perfect vampire whore you love to hate, and yet Mimi's so brutally honest about who and what she is. Far more honest than Djuna.
A note on the soundtrack: GRUNGE AWESOMESAUCE. The feedback heavy industrial grunge music grinds us through these dramatic, brooding scenes, a totally unique style of soundtrack for such a severe film. For a guy like me who grew up with the alternative grunge of Nirvana and industrial grunge of Helmet and Ministry, who happens to write vampire erotic fiction, this soundtrack was simply perfect in every way. The music made the movie just that much better.
I give KISS OF THE DAMNED, a solid Five Fatass Stars: ★★★★★
En Fin, I leave you with an alternate cover to the movie, which is far better than the dvd cover art:
And if you want to know a little something more about my own peculiar brand of vampire erotic romance thriller, check me out at TWLUEDKE.COM.