My immediate thought was this feels like an elaborate Lancome commercial, but as the story progressed forward where two people meet in a video store and sparks are firing off with attraction, you know it’s got some sensual spunk. They fall in love. The end. Aww so cute. Also for the record this is more of the erotic version of TWILIGHT because this came out way before 50 SHADES OF GREY. Fight me.
Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes makes an exemplary and extremely sexual vampire tale that has the mood, look, and feel of a 70s foreign film in the most beautiful way. Is there room for improvement? Always, but that’s not the point when your immersed in a world where vampires live on the outskirts of society betraying their natural yearnings of human blood in lieu of synthetic blood. It’s a noble act but also seems to have a very elite undertone, which in hindsight makes sense because they’ve been around forever and have a vast knowledge on how civilization has succeeded and failed in so many instances. So wealthy vampires with naughty sexual tendencies while navigating a life worth living really brings the existential element into the light. This is what drives the story forward; a plethora of questions. Where to go? How to live? Why choose this rather than that? It's all a small semblance of attaining power and keeping it? Perhaps.
Djuna (Josephine de La Baume) and Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia) are vampires living in a mansion of a fellow vampire, Xenia (Anna Mouglalis) who is a famous actress away on a theater tour. It’s kind of like their hideout, with the exception of having an understanding housekeeper named Irene (Ching Valdes-Aran) who’s been entrusted with such fierce protection for generations. It’s totally cool because she has a rare blood disease which doesn’t make her an appetizing treat. Bad blood. What can you do?
The real conflict that comes into play is Djuna’s sister Mimi (Rozane Mesquida) who’s crashing the place temporarily and causing all the unwanted trouble which in some aspect threatens the vampire community from being exposed. This is what keeps the ball rolling for Mimi to see how far she can push her chaos onto others. Such a troublemaker. Let's just say it doesn't end to well. I mean it's kinda warranted and pretty damn heartless but also shot so coldly. I guess karma does have a win here. Nonetheless, it was my favorite sequence framing wise because it had this dramatic edge intwined with some callousness. Don't worry, I won't give it away.
It seems most vampires are lusty creatures and the ones who have some decent control know how to hold it together and will take whatever savage move necessary to preserve it. If anything I love this film for the fantasy it creates, given the acting is a little wooden with on the nose dialogue, its compelling with impeccable shots owning the mood and embellished score. Its refreshing when a filmmaker truly lets her imagination run free and utilizing the house itself to keep the story confined but also as a spatial entity. The space is alluring and like a castle, casts a fortitude of protection, conflict, submission, and sensual desires. We’re all familiar with the rules of a vampire’s world. They’re clearly the rulers of existence, the only exception is with having so much vitality, it really diminishes the confines and concept of time, yet their physical shortcomings really adhere to their nature as erotic beings. It's always been a popular concoction in the mentality of having it all but not really. I know there’s a metaphor here somewhere.
If anything this film made me think on a vampire’s existence which is interesting how Cassavetes’ is able to lasso in the eye of the beholder, making the viewer also surrender to such circumstance. KISS OF THE DAMNED is a provocative piece of art that ages well in the ongoing saga of seduction and blood lust, while dancing in pale moonlight in a world of restless, sun-deprived vampires. I really do think some vitamin D would make them feel better despite the gnarly sunburn. They're so damned.