Vampire’s Kiss – Blu-ray Review
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Film Title: Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
Release Date: 2022
Runtime: 103 minutes
Region Coding: Region A
Distributor: MVD Rewind Collection
Audio Format: LCPM 2.0 Stereo
Aspect Ratio(s): 1.85:1
Version Reviewed: 2022 MVD Blu-ray
Blu-ray Release Date: 6/14/22
Director: Robert Bierman
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Kasi Lemmons, Jennifer Beals, Maria Conchita Alonso, Elizabeth Ashley
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Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full Blu-ray Tech Specs at bottom
“Vampire’s Kiss” from 1988 was a comedy, horror, and drama. Yes, this film was primarily intended to be taken as a comedy with some horrifying dramatic moments along the way and uses the whole vampire legend. The film was directed by Robert Bierman and the screenplay was written by Joseph Minion. Minion also wrote the screenplays for the films “After Hours” (1985) and “Motorama” (1991).
Simply put, this film is best known for some cringe-worthy shots of Nicolas Cage, which have become popular to share on social media in both meme and notoriously animated GIF form [as seen below].
Yes, I’ve stooped that low in a review. But, just you wait, there’s one more.
So, the story here involves a weird businessman by the name of “Peter Loew” (Nicolas Cage) that we are introduced to as he’s having a therapy session. Later, we get to know the character a tad bit more in a bar where he’s found a young attractive female (Kasi Lemmons). Needless to say, drunk off of his ass and nothing short of howling at the moon, he takes the fair lady back to his place but does not opt to pay the cab fare. So, our new best friend and his beautiful young lady are getting passionate and having a good time when all of the sudden a bat flies into the room and scares the shit out of the two, equally. No one is bitten, don’t worry it’s not going that vampire route that early but it does involve a horrible-looking fake bat on a string, so that’s always a plus? So, the two go about their night and finally give in a take a cab elsewhere, and he waits for the bat to leave.
The next day, we start getting an idea of what a verbally abusive boss he is, as he talks down to his secretary “Alva” (Maria Conchita Alonso). In fact, the GIF most famous from this film is actually of when Cage’s character is being verbally abusive to the secretary. She’s simply terrified of her boss and more than most workers are. Peter Loew is about to go even lower than he started at when he has a chance encounter with a woman named “Rachel” (Jennifer Beals) who turns out to be a vampire, he’s pretty sure because she bit his neck and had fangs and all. But he never manages to turn into a vampire despite trying his damn best to, as far as even his own makeshift coffin to sleep in at night and plastic vampire fangs. Is this man really someone who was bitten by a vampire or just a scumbag yuppy that is losing his mind? You’ll have to watch and find out but I’ll tell you this: it’s a fucking blast.
Movie Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
“Vampire’s Kiss” on Blu-ray Disc [via the MVD Rewind Collection] is presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio here. That means you’ll get tiny black bars at the top and bottom of a 16×9 (widescreen) display. This movie was shot on 35mm film but I cannot find [on IMDb or anywhere] what specific camera was used.
This 2022 MVD release comes on a BD-25 (25 gigabytes single layer) Blu-ray Disc. To get even rather a bit more technical for a moment here, the film itself is using 20.9 gigabytes out of the 21.71 GB total used entirely on the disc. That may not sound like a lot, because it’s rather low for a live-action film but you need to keep in mind this only has a 103-minute runtime. Also, it can be unapologetically rough around the edges with a lot of visual imperfections such as dirt or debris left on the film print’s [likely 2K] scan.
This delivers a very theatrical visual experience here on this 2022 Blu-ray. The HD presentation hat comes with an unapologetically impressive consistency of visible film grain. There’s a soft feel as you’d expect some films from the late 1980s to have, no doubt about that, but there’s also a lot of detail to be found in some close-up shots. The black level is perfectly solid here and flesh tones are accurate, with nice color timing. You’ll get some occasional bits of debris such as dirt or such thrown in visually that again adds to a theatrical-type feeling.
I must say, I was impressed by this in terms of video quality and as a result, it earns itself a pretty respectable 4.25 Rating for Video Quality. Also, I honestly was amazed that a BD-25 could deliver a presentation this good, in this day and age.
Video Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
Audio here, on this MVD Rewind Collection Blu-ray Disc release of “Vampire’s Kiss,” comes in a basic Uncompressed Linear PCM [LPCM] 2.0 Stereo configuration. There is nothing more lossless than that form of uncompressed audio. LPCM is the way to go if you have the bandwidth [disc space] to handle it, and most times in a 2.0 Stereo or Mono configuration, it will easily fit on a BD-25 or BD-50 disc. So, that’s a wise choice and perhaps better than the other release of the film in terms of audio just for that fact.
This delivers spot-on dialogue with not a bit of distortion to it, nor the original music (composed by Colin Towns). There’s also a bit of Igor Stravinsky [classic music] performed in the background at one point that sounds really good and gets you into the vibe. The soundtrack also features a song called “Moody” performed by the band ESG. It’s a solid, and even at times pretty impressive, sound mix presentation here in PCM 2.0 Stereo on this 2022 Blu-ray and does a 1988 film like this as much justice as possible. Some might have wanted a surround mix but considering this film was released theatrically in Stereo it seems fitting we get it in that configuration. All and all, it’s good enough to certainly get the job done and even come across somewhat impressive enough to earn it a 4.25 rating for audio quality.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
Bonus materials on this release are presented in SD (480i/p standard definition) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
A Physical Fold-out Mini Movie Poster is included in this set. You can find a photo of it further below.
The bonus materials here on the Blu-ray include:
- Audio Commentary with Director Robert Bierman and Actor Nicolas Cage is a must-hear in terms of audio commentaries. We right up front learn that Judd Nelson was originally a choice for the leading role and then Nicolas Cage became available. But then Cage left. But then Cage came to his senses after he debated [primarily with his agency] doing a film like this after just doing the movie Moonstruck (1987). He made the right decision looking back and this film became the slightly obscure gem in his IMDb acting credits list. This is one great scene-specific commentary with the director and the lead actor, so that’s always great to have. Do we learn why a certain actress of Flashdance (1983) fame didn’t want to do a topless scene and used pasties that clearly stand out? You’ll have to listen and find out. This is a must-hear for any fans to give a listen. The funny accent is discussed and even laughed about. One last thing we learn, the director claims that this was the “cheapest made movie in the history of movies.”
- Photo Gallery (29 images) sadly doesn’t want to let you pause when you find a photo you would like to stop at for a moment. It is still sporting some choice shots from the film though and is fun to see included.
- “Vampire’s Kiss” Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes, 4 seconds – SD)
- “Vampire’s Kiss” TV Spot (30 seconds – SD)
Overall the bonus materials here include an audio commentary track with the film’s director and its star Nicolas Cage which is a must-hear, as well as a photo gallery, trailer, and then a short 30-second TV spot. It’s pretty basic, but you also get the physical extras of a fold-out mini-poster and reverse key artwork.
Bonus Materials Rating: 1.25 (out of 5)
“Vampire’s Kiss” from 1988 is a cult classic horror/comedy and the source of those cringe-worthy Nicolas Cage GIFs that everyone uses on social media and has likely never even seen the film that it is from. It’s something everyone should experience once, just to see if it’s right for them. Perhaps a bit like sex? Sure, that sounds about as absurd as the thoughts the protagonist has throughout the course of 103 minutes. Is this one of Nic Cage’s finest films? Yes, and maybe? Sure, it’s by no means as epic as his performances in bigger [serious] films but it’s one of the most memorable comedic executions I’ve seen using the vampire mythos as its source material and then well, a script and of course Nic Cage. That’s all you needed. This movie is an underrated gem, in many ways, and I suggest you finally upgrade your VHS or DVD of this.
In terms of video quality, it delivers a theatrical style presentation with flaws and all in the scan of the film and that means you’ll see the occasional bits of dirt or debris. It’s not something that has been excessively cleaned up and it’s rough around the edges at times but overall is pretty impressive for a 1080p HD video presentation in 2022.
In terms of audio quality, this delivers via a solid and at times pretty impressive mix in the uncompressed Linear PCM [LPCM] Stereo 2.0 sound format. That’s with any form of audio compression. Need I say more? There’s nothing to complain about here in terms of sound and it does the film every bit of justice that it deserves.
The bonus materials here include an audio commentary with the director and star, some short promo materials, and physical extras in the form of a mini-poster and reverse key artwork. It’s pretty good for a set of extras. But, hey, that sure as hell beats nothing!
All and all, as I’ve discussed above, this film is a bit of an unappreciated gem as I’ve called it, for Nicolas Cage’s comedic performance and cringe-worthy accent. He knows it’s bad, in a good way, as you’ll learn from listening to the audio commentary track. Finally, you get the film in its very own Blu-ray release with pretty impressive video and audio quality. As a Blu-ray release this, “Vampire’s Kiss” from MVD Rewind Collection, gives you something to sink your teeth into and comes as a Recommended Cult Classic.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.25 (out of 5) for video quality
4.25 (out of 5) for audio quality
1.25 (out of 5) for bonus materials
Recommended Cult Classic
Blu-ray Technical Specifications:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Exact Runtime: 1:43:36
Audio Format(s): English Uncompressed Linear PCM 2.0 Stereo [LPCM]
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Disc Size: BD-25
Disc Use: 21.71GB total / 20.9GB for the film