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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘VAMPIRE’S KISS – Caged Uncaged’


Vampire’s Kiss is a window into the frayed psyche of a man losing his grip. Publishing executive Peter Loew is mentally melting down as he struggles to discover a meaningful relationship. This occurs amid the backdrop of the wild, relatively lawless streets of 1980s New York.

At its core, Vampire’s Kiss is relevant social commentary about the disproportionate treatment women receive compared to men and the dangers of unchecked behaviors.

But it’s also as interesting a case study as you can have on the method to an actor’s madness. Nicolas Cage makes a lot of interesting choices in this film. Whether you agree with them, honestly, is up to you.

Nicolas Cage Going Full Vampire in Vampire's Kiss

Because from the opening scene on, he’s just going for it. The indefinable accent, the physicality, the faces—it is a tour de force of manic, unhinged behavior. It’s Spinal Tap‘s amp eschewing 11 and heading straight to 12. And it is is just something that has to be seen.

Now, in saying that, I must also admit that the eccentricity of it does not make for a Hollywood blockbuster, nor does it equate to a sensible choice of roles for a rising star. But Cage is Cage; he’s an original. And I’m not sure any other actor of his era could do what he does in this movie. It’s that spastic.

So despite it flopping—it grossed $725,131 on a budget of $2 million—it’s remembered more for unleashing the Cage we all know and love. Others involved with the project were not as fortunate. Both the director, Robert Bierman, and the writer, Joseph Minion, never quite recovered—a shame, as this movie did have important things to say.

In the end, though, it truly is all about Cage’s performance. Love it or hate it, it’s one for the ages. So sit back, bite into a Batsquatch Hazy IPA from Rogue, and enter the vapid decadence of 1980s New York! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla, are harassing our co-workers to satiate our vampiric delirium!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – In what is perhaps our most divisive film to date, we debate the merits of Cage’s nutty turn as Peter Loew. (00:00)
  • The Vampire’s Kiss Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges Capt. Cash and myself to trivia about this cult classic. (57:48)
  • Recommendations – Rather than eating a cockroach, why not watch one of these fine recommendations? Next up on Summer Rage with Nicolas Cage: Drive Angry! (1:24:17)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Cage’s desire to engage in mortal combat with an actual bat and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotifyAcastTuneIn, and iHeartRadio!


Thomas L. Kelly

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