Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Double Feature: Vampire's Kiss and High Spirits (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

For February and Valentine’s day Scream Factory has given us two separate double features. Horror comedies to be specific, and while the quality of each film release will vary one cannot doubt that the motivation behind these releases was to encourage loving horror partners to wrap themselves up together in front of their Blu-ray players with the likes of Nicolas Cage, Daryl Hannah and Steve Gutenberg. Today we’ll bring you the first of the double features, released only days of after V-day. If you haven’t seen Vampire’s Kiss and High Spirits, this is the kind of light hearted horror that can turn a “norm” (non horror watcher) into a horror watcher.

Vampire’s Kiss

From Scream Factory:

Teetering on the edge of sanity, volatile literary agent Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage) tries to find purpose in his life through a cutthroat work ethic and a hedonistic night life. But when an encounter with a mysterious beauty leaves Loew convinced that he is turning into a vampire, his behavior turns positively outrageous.

This is a movie of legend. It’s a movie that I had only heard of, seen stills from and have always been curious about. With a young Nicholas Cage in the starring role, how could you go wrong? Let’s set your expectation. This is not an overly funny movie (or at least not as funny as the second feature on this release, High Spirits). It’s actually more whacked out, Gonzo crazy. I suppose we should expect nothing less of Mr. Cage during his pre-Wild at Heart phase.

What Vampire’s Kiss does promise is lots of T and A combined with a certain sensuality that can almost turn you on… until you realize that Nick Cage is in fact about to attack someone with plastic vamp fangs over some “vamp” with an Aquanet addiction. The ending.. touching and worth sticking around for if not long, drawn out and perhaps slightly offputting.

Do I recommend Vampire’s Kiss? In parts and maybe just one time to see if it’s your thing. It follows more in line with Martin than it does with more traditional vampire fare. Perhaps the best way to enjoy this one is with a pile of Bahaus vinyl, a clove cigarette and… yes… plastic or wax fangs.

High Spirits

From Scream Factory:

Daryl Hannah, Peter O’Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher and Liam Neeson star in this hilariously haunting comedy! When a castle-turned-hotel owned by Peter Plunkett (O’Toole) falls on hard financial times, he comes up with an idea to turn the place into a tourist attraction by billing it as Europe's most haunted castle. But just when it seems he'll have to give up the ghost, some real phantoms show up — and they're none too thrilled about being exploited.

I remember seeing High Spirits at a sleepover when I was a kid. We kept rewinding a particular scene in order to better see some skin we thought, maybe, we may have seen. It’s stuck with me. I thought it was funny back then, and that was at an age where I couldn’t possibly have understood all the subtle comic sensibilities contained within.

High Spirts has all the trappings of an 80’s sex comedy, but it’s a PG-13 release so it doesn’t have all the good bits you might expect. This isn’t Porkys. This is a lighthearted, romantic romp in Ireland with some light, dirty humor to fill in the ghostly gaps. Peter O’Toole is splendid and funny (boy did I love him in King Ralph… perhaps more than I liked him in Lawrence of Arabia). Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson and Beverly D’Angelo create the perfect balance of a well balanced comedic troop with dramatic presence and power.  Watching this one made me realize just how ingrained Jennifer Tilly is in the world of horror and dark fantasy. From Psycho II to Child’s Play and even High Spirits!

High Spirits is the movie that truly sells this set for me. It’s highly entertaining with plenty of slapstick moments that let you know why the 80’s defined physical romantic comedy. It’s never scary, but it is ghostly and has a spooky atmosphere. This flick gets a bad wrap… mostly because people simply don’t know how to have fun with a goofy 80’s Guttenberg flick that isn’t Police Academy.

This double feature is ready to order from Scream Factory now:

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