Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Love at First Bite and Once Bitten (Scream Factory Blu-ray Double Feature)

Confession time. I hadn't seen either Love at First Bite or Once Bitten prior to reviewing them for this release. I have no nostalgic memory of laughing at them or being aroused by them. I feel like I'm in the minority here. I feel like most people have enjoyed Jim Carrey's performance before he got big or perhaps George Hamilton performance after he already made it. Scream Factory has put out two different double features with comedic focus. We reviewed High Spirits and Vampire's Kiss, a double feature that I enjoyed well enough though I don't think Vampire's Kiss is my kind of horror comedy (if you think it's really a horror comedy). This time around I felt a less enthusiastic about both releases, however I know that nostalgia driven horror fans are going to love this set.

Let's talk about both movies.

Love at First Bite

As a kid I remember still frames of George Hamilton as Dracula. I had never seen the actual movie, but Hamilton looked the part. I knew it must be a comedy (the hair gives it away). Finally watching it, I'm of the opinion that Love at First Bite is the natural progression of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein... only not nearly as clever with a cast that is subpar and no truly great cinematic moments. It has some excellent physical comedy but not due to George Hamliton's performance that is clearly tongue in cheek. The supporting cast makes the movie tolerable. After the opening scene where Drac is pushed out of his castle and makes his way to New York, I quickly thought of every other fish out of water picture I knew, compared it and found it "lesser than".

To be honest I almost feel a bit bad not enjoying Love at First Bite. I can appreciate why George Hamilton is actually the perfect actor to cast in a Drac comedy, but maybe I'm not big on vampire horror comedy. I was not a fan of Dracula Dead and Loving It either.

Hey you can always watch it to see George Jefferson.

Love at First Bite includes the trailer and radio spot.

From Scream Factory:

George Hamilton is possibly the tannest vampire in screen history in 1979's Love at First Bite. When Count Dracula (Hamilton) is forced out of his castle to make room for an Olympic training facility, he relocates to New York City in search of discos, blood banks, and the fashion model who just might be the girl of his dreams. Will the Count take a bite out of The Big Apple — or will its mean streets take a bite out of him? Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin, Arte Johnson, Dick Shawn and The Jeffersons' Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford also star in this outrageous romance about a guy who really loves the nightlife.

Once Bitten

If it wasn't for Cleavon Little, I would have turned the damn thing off. Once Bitten is a typical frat boy/sex comedy with a coming of age root that isn't funny. It does have some genuinely sexy aspects. Lauren Hutton is an 80's mega babe vamp. This kept me entertained for most of the movie as did some of Little's antics (though he is no Sheriff Bart in Once Bitten). Perhaps the greatest reason to watch Once Bitten is to see the evolution of Carrey's talent; to understand his horror roots better and how his comedy evolved.

With no personal connection to the picture and minimal tit for tat (or even meaningful physical comedy) Once Bitten is a snoozer with few laughs. Perhaps this is one you had to see at a young age to appreciate it. Even as a fan of 80's horror, 80's comedy, sex comedies and vampire films, I really couldn't find the hook.

Like Mongo, I have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart (aka Cleavon Little), but that's where my good will ends for Once Bitten.

Once Bitten includes the trailer.

From Scream Factory:

Jim Carrey is necking with a vampire in Once Bitten, a 1985 teen comedy also starring Lauren Hutton, Karen Kopins, and Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles). When a vampire Countess (Hutton) seeks virgin blood, she soon discovers that it’s not as easy to come by as it was in the good old days! When she crosses paths with the still-virginal Mark Kendall (Carrey in one of his earliest screen roles), it's a race against time to get to him before he gets it on. Once Bitten is a totally '80s teen vampire flick where the bloodsuckers don’t sparkle, but the comedy most certainly does.

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