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Episode 148 - Vampire's Kiss: LIVE!

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Hayes Davenport (Hollywood Handbook, HBO’s Divorced, Vice Principals) joins Paul, June, and Jason live from the Now Hear This Festival in Anaheim, CA to do their best trying to comprehend what is happening in the 1988 Nicolas Cage film Vampire’s Kiss. They’ll cover everything from the legendary misfiling & ABC’s scene to whether or not Cage becomes a vampire by the end of the movie. Plus, in a HDTGM first, we get actual answers from the director and star of the film as to what was happening in the movie, coming very close to having a real bat in the movie, and what were the mimes doing.

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Finally!

 

Ever since I saw this insane movie on basic cable, I've been hoping and praying that the HDTGM gang would review it.

This is probably the craziest Nic Cage movie I have ever seen.

There a so many crazy scenes that will leave you speechless with your mouth wide open. Just keep it open and take it all in.

My favorite is when he bites the woman at the nightclub, and then just dips.

 

And June is back, which is another reason to celebrate.

I am so excited to hear June's thoughts. They could not do this movie without her.

 

 

Movie Suggestion for Future Podcast - Leap Year

 

It's a bonkers romantic comedy, and would be right up June's alley.

There are cows that appear out of nowhere, Amy Adams destroys a hotel room just by plugging in her cell phone, and she also disfigures a bride on her wedding day.

The part that continually made me laugh is that Amy wears high heels everywhere, even when she is walking for miles along the road or hiking up the Irish countryside. It is nuts!

The perfect guests would be Doug Benson because he has history with Amy. If you are a fan of his show then you know why.

The other guest should be Adam Scott because he is in this movie. He plays a douchebag doctor, who has some incredibly douchey lines. It would be interesting to hear if he has any behind the scenes stories about this train wreck.

 

 

O qua tangin wann qua omsa lagee wann,

Patrick Muldoon

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This is going to be a good'un!

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The directors commentary is fascinating, I think when they keep saying "we were young" they mean we took alot of cocaine. I assumed when I watched it that it was a black comedy. It's so absurd I never got a horror vibe. He's clearly just having a mental break.

 

I gotta see Army of One now. Larry Charles is always good.

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Hearing June come on stage brought maybe my first real smile since Tuesday night.

 

They brought up the impatient hot dog vendor but I thought even better than him was the cab driver. Near the beginning of the movie they hail the cab and then wave him off. He pulls his car over for about 5 seconds but he is so enraged he yells at them "God damn you! Fuck your mind! Cocksuckers!" And it is just occurring to me that maybe what he was actually doing was laying a curse on Nic Cage when he said fuck your mind and that led to his descent into madness.

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Hearing June come on stage brought maybe my first real smile since Tuesday night.

 

They brought up the impatient hot dog vendor but I thought even better than him was the cab driver. Near the beginning of the movie they hail the cab and then wave him off. He pulls his car over for about 5 seconds but he is so enraged he yells at them "God damn you! Fuck your mind! Cocksuckers!" And it is just occurring to me that maybe what he was actually doing was laying a curse on Nic Cage when he said fuck your mind and that led to his descent into madness.

 

One national nightmare ends, as another one begins.

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I absolutely love this movie. The overall concept of the film is very interesting but executed in the absolute craziest way.

 

One possible explanation for Cage's "Accent" could be tied to the crazy choice he made in the movie "Peggy Sue Got married." Cage felt that memorable, superstar actors have voices and affectations that are imitable. So he put on a strange voice in Peggy Sue got married and may have still been experimenting with it in Vampire's kiss.

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All right, guys. I'm going to jump right into this with a bit of history of the vampire narrative.

 

Vampire folklore started in eastern Europe. It started entering western Europe - especially England, France, and Germany - in the 18th century. Another funny thing was happening at around the same thing: the church was beginning to have far less control and impact on people's daily lives (there's a lot more historical nuance here, but this oversimplification is enough to get my point across). During the height of Catholicism in Europe, one of the most frequently-used didactic tools was the narrative of saints' lives, also known as hagiography (pronounced "hay-gee-ography" or "hag-ee-ography").

 

These narratives were used to show the public how the ideal person would live. Male saints led battles, fought dragons, and protected the weak. Female saints stayed virginal. That's it. Hagiographical accounts of women all follow the same formula: evil man wants to sleep with woman; woman resists; man tortures woman; woman dies while maintaining her purity. It was used to convince women that their purity was the most important thing in the world and the sole source of their value.

 

Cut to the decline of Catholicism and - by extension - hagiography throughout much of Europe. Much of this ideal had been internalized by the populations of western Europe and found its way into the vampire narrative. For example, in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the flirtatious Lucy Westenra gives in to Dracula, which leads to her eternal punishment as a sort of vampire banshee. Meanwhile, the chaste, pure Mina Harker resists. Her violation is against her will, so her purity is maintained, and (spoiler alert for a book written over 200 years ago) she is saved and ultimately redeemed when Dracula is killed.

 

The physical penetration of the bite is always a metaphor for sex in the vampire narrative. The best, most widely accessible modern example that comes to mind at the moment is Twilight and its awful message of Bella's purity. Edward only bites Bella after they are married. She remains pure and thus one of the "good" vampires. Meanwhile, the bad vampires are all incredibly more sexualized and - we are to assume - promiscuous.

 

So, this film as an allegory for the AIDS crisis is not all that crazy, and I wish they had had more discussion about this on the episode. The vampire story is a cautionary tale, so it's natural that it would fit well into the AIDS crisis. There's a lot of wacky shit in this movie, and ultimately, whether or not Cage was really bitten or turned into a vampire is irrelevant. Whether he was bitten by the bat, bitten by Jessica Biel/Jennifer Beals, or just went crazy, the film still follows the vampire narrative tradition. He's a promiscuous person whose ultimate demise comes from his "impure" lifestyle.

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Concerning the mimes and "I'm a vampire" rant, I read the best description of of why worked in the IMDB FAQ which was basically what Jason said in that New Yorkers are used to crazy people running around at all hours and are just used to it, which makes me think that this movie could have been set in either LA or San Francisco as well because of the various characters running around those cities. It also reminds me of a horrible fucking horror movie I watched last year called Crazy Murder, which was a mix of a look at the homeless situation in New York along with a bad slasher flick. In it a homeless man just starts running around the city and brutally killing random people, eventually making a "murder superhero" suit for himself which was basically electrical tape and blades, and running around the city. The funniest part of it was as this guy is running around, non-actors are clearly walking around as well and are not concerned in the least about this guy running around with knives all over his body.

 

As for the accent, I hadn't thought about a literary take on the accent, but thinking back to the few library conferences that I've been to, it clearly matches up with the pretentiousness of those people, so that checks out for me.

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The rabies theory actually makes total sense because I remember hearing a theory that the initial vampire myth may have come from the symptoms of people infected with rabies. But what is odd is when I was looking it up it appears that theory was put forth in 1998. 10 years after Vampire's Kiss came out. So did they know what they were doing when they made this movie? Or did they accidentally stumble onto something plausible?

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/178623.stm

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Maybe it's brain damage from syphilis?!? It's not really diagnosed, or anything, but it does fit with the too much boning premise. *shrug*

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Great episode, just what I'd hoped for when this film was announced.

 

A tentative correction here on the murder of the girl in the nightclub.

 

A lot of the conversation in the podcast was around how much damage Nic could do with those plastic teeth, but after watching the section in slo-mo a few times, I'm convinced that he doesn't use the plastic teeth at all when he bites her. He wears the teeth to sit down with her and 'flirt', but when he attacks her, he first does so by slipping his hand down the front of her shirt, to which she responds by whacking him in the face. I'm not sure if this is the point at which his teeth come out, but when he leans over to bite her, I'm sure there are no plastic teeth in there. Here's a screenshot of that moment.

 

His mouth is way too wide to allow him to fit those little teeth in there: they have a small hinge at the back meaning that if he opened his mouth this wide they'd fall out. Every time he has them in, he has his jaw clenched to hold them there. Then, once the girl is dead, he sits up and slips the teeth back into his mouth which suggests that for him the teeth are more about the external show of vampirism, not the necessary tools for feeding on flesh. Here we see him popping those teeth back in, which are very clearly still white (no blood), before he leaves.

 

This raises the question again: how does he kill her? Human teeth aren't designed to tear flesh in that way: he's very obviously biting her with his incisors. Without the sharp plastic teeth, he'd have a hard time making that hole without tearing the flesh more violently. Add to that, she glazes over and dies (or maybe just passes out?) in about ten seconds, assuming it isn't a time-lapse in the cutaways. According to this lovely site it'll take anywhere from 15-60 minutes to bleed out from a jugular vein injury. Some sites list this as little as 2 minutes if the internal jugular is cut, but her damage is external, which bleeds a lot slower, and would clot before she straight up died.

 

That's my little correction, but multiple viewings of the moment make me sure it's true: he doesn't wear the plastic teeth to bite anyone. But why not?

 

Great episode!

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I love HDTGM, and it's been a great comfort to me this week in particular. When my husband did finally turn off the election coverage Tuesday night - I'd retreated under the covers hours before - it was to play one of our favorite episodes for "some normalcy" as he worded it, and we clung to Paul, June, and Jason's rants and giggles like a life raft. So it was a relief to remember last night that we had a new episode to look forward to and Vampire's Kiss to watch in preparation.

 

And I enjoyed the craziness and the accents and the terrible overacting and the mimes... until I watched the increasingly cruel treatment of a young Latina turn into brutalization and sexual assault. (I realize the rape scene is ambiguously framed, but Loew does state that he raped her, and I've no reason to thing he would make that assertion if it weren't true.) I was unprepared for it and it plunged me right back into a world I was trying to escape for an hour or two. All the copy I'd seen written about this movie ignored the existence of a rape scene, including the promotions that came from Paul and the HDTGM team. And while other HDTGM movies have danced around the concept of rape – and there’s an episode (maybe No Holds Barred?) where one of the hosts or guests mentions how often movies in the ‘80s and ‘90s involved the threat of sexual violence, an example of the sort of thoughtful analysis mixed with funny commentary that makes me love this show – I think this is the only one that showed it, and in doing so I feel like the podcast crossed a line that I wish it hadn’t. Also, hearing how many people found this movie hilarious without adding a caveat along the lines of “despite the rape scene” is jarring to me. Though to be fair, no one on stage at the podcast taping shied away from discussing the scene, and I respect and appreciate them for it.

 

Call me oversensitive and I will readily agree with you! I've watched the mistreatment of my sex become a constant topic of media conversation for the past few months only to find that the majority of my nation tacitly condones it. But ultimately I think it's better to call attention to the problem that a movie can be advertised as silly fun even though it includes a woman being beaten and sexually assaulted. Anyway, just some food for thought, and likely some cathartic venting on my part as an American in an America she doesn’t recognize. None of this changes my love for the people who make this podcast and its community so great.

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The first choice to play Peter Loew was none other than Judd Nelson. Imagine how different this movie could've been.

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As mentioned by my friend Chris, whose sleepy response was cut from the recording, one could see this as a modern interpretation of the story of Renfield, a clinically insane character from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Renfield's story is told from the point of view of a psychologist at an asylum. He is utterly loyal to Dracula and, although he never becomes a vampire himself, he obsessively tabulates the number of organisms (mostly bugs) he consumes to know the life-force he believes he absorbs. At one point he also drinks blood spilled on the floor when he cuts Dr. Seward's arm.

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Hearing June come on stage brought maybe my first real smile since Tuesday night.

 

JUUUUUNE!!!

 

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TOTALLY AGREE! June is exactly what I needed after this awful week. Her suggestion that the "only other explanation" was that the bat and Cage switched souls was the hardest I have laughed in days. She is the absolute best.

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Maybe it's brain damage from syphilis?!? It's not really diagnosed, or anything, but it does fit with the too much boning premise. *shrug*

 

This was EXACTLY my thought.

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I know the timelines don't match up but I want this movie to exist in the same cinematic universe as The Devil's Advocate. I'd love it if Al Pacino brought Cage back from the dead to be the publishing guy for his non-specific New York based evil.

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Great episode and yes I too agree, I was stoked to hear the lovely Ms June Diane Raphael's voice.

 

Now did anyone else find it strange that not a few minutes after meeting his perfect/fictional girlfriend, that both "she" and Cage get into a hardcore verbal altercation? The argument even covers the topic of bearing children and if Cage can do that now that he is a vampire. I mean she seemed fine with Cage being a rapist and murderer when he confessed to those crimes in the therapist's office. Why have an issue with being a vampire, especially since she is a straight up figment of his delusional mind.

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