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Kiss Of The Vampire (2006)
Director: Joe Tornatore

review by Barbara Davies

When Estelle Henderson (Katherine Hawkes) meets Alex Stone (Daniel Goddard) at the opera, the contrast between the handsome, brooding stranger and her boorish, drunken fiancé couldn't be more striking. Attraction is instant and mutual, but Alex proves to be curiously elusive... especially when the Sun comes up.

Alex is a vampire, tired of the nomadic life, of always trying to stay one step ahead of the police. The members of his clan tend to leave a messy trail of bodies behind them, and it's usually Alex who teleports them out of danger. Nevertheless, meeting Estelle cements his determination to become a mortal, in order to enjoy life in the sunshine with her. And her research scientist father, who works for the wealthy Price Foundation, might be just the man to help him find a way.

Unfortunately, Victor Price (Eric Etebari) is the leader of the Illuminati, a mysterious organisation with "more influence than the President of the United States" and a lucrative sideline in drug dealing, body parts, and murder. Price wants immortality and the presence of a genuine vampire on the premises proves too good an opportunity to pass up. Then there's vampire hunter Marshall Pope (Matthias Hughes), whose arrival to help the police could also put a severe crimp in Estelle and Alex's plans...

In novel form, Kiss Of The Vampire (originally called Immortally Yours), with its echoes of Angel, would grace any publisher's supernatural romance imprint. What could be more flattering for any woman than to have her ideal man repudiate his dark side and change his whole existence to be with her? So much for the film's rather slushy romantic core... The tension comes from subplots involving the dastardly Illuminati and their slightly comic hitman Steve Miles (Martin Kove), the longhaired Germanic vampire hunter, and Pete and Alice the slightly bumbling cops (Vince Jolivette and Katie Rich). And attitudes towards Alex's devoted dwarf follower, Michael (Phil Fondacaro), serve as a touchstone for whether characters are good guys or bad. Yet somehow, in spite of all this, Kiss Of The Vampire adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Written and produced by Hawkes, to provide a star vehicle for herself, its faults probably lie largely at her door. The script is clunky; the plot full of coincidences, the dialogue full of infelicities and info-dumps, and it's not helped by the stilted delivery of the leads and most of the vampires (who seem to have been cast for their good looks and ability to hiss/ roar rather than their acting skills). The special effects are often rudimentary, and the plot sometimes seems shaped by availability of locations and extras so, at one point, the cast tramp through a beauty salon without comment and for no apparent reason!

These vampires are a strange hybrid, and, it must be said, not very scary. Traditional traits (sleeping in coffins, vulnerability to sunlight, stakes through the heart) mix with characteristics derived from the animal kingdom such as roaring and communal eating of the kill. And when it comes to fighting, these supposedly immortal, worldly-wise beings never seem able to comprehend that merely roaring and posturing is unlikely to defeat armed policemen; what they really need is an Uzi. Fortunately, Alex is a more intelligent, resourceful order of vampire, and on his special ability to teleport hinges the film's climax. Unfortunately, the final showdown between him and the Illuminati is ill thought through. I won't give away the details, except to say - Vampires. The Sun. Doh!
Kiss of the Vampire



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