Distributors: Monster Pictures
Author: John Mathews
Kiss of the damned feels like a horror movie right out of the 1970's, it has a gothic vibe and works incredibly well. You feel as if this was something right out of Jess Franco's filmography, however it is extremely well made. Directed by Xan Cassavetes, this immediately peaked my interest as I am a massive fan of her fathers work, that being John Casavettes. There has been an explosion of vampire films over the past few years, most being trash (but the rare gem like only lovers left alive), this film takes a step back to the old school days when vampire movies were gory and overall frightening.
The film starts of with us being introduced to Djuna, she is a vampire that lives in a remote estate in a forestry area. It has a very groovy 70's title sequence, like something out of a European vampire classic. Our other protagonist is Paolo, a young man working in the film industry as an attempted writer. One night he meets Djuna in a supermarket an immediately falls in love with her. After going back to her estate she freaks out and asks him to leave her house, Paolo confused leaves; unaware she wants to bite his neck. However he keeps pursuing her, going back to her estate the next night as he is madly in love.
She comes clean and tells him she is a vampire which he finds very hard to believe, so she decides to prove it to him. She gets tied up on a bed and then slowly transforms into a vampire, Paolo is shocked by what he sees but still decides to have sex with her. In a very erotic scene, she bites him and transforms him into a vampire. That is the whole idea of this film, accepting an outsider in becoming a vampire, he would do anything just to be with her.
The vampires are trying to live off synthetic blood and fit in with society. Mimi however disagrees and goes on a killing spree to the point where she is unstoppable. Things go from bad to worse and it is a film that draws you in with such a strong performance from roxane mesquida (who I best recall from Fat Girl). The soundtrack is groovy with it's use of guitar riffs and alternative sounds, it really does add to the atmosphere. Combine all these elements with Xans talented direction and you have one of the most unique vampire, and should I say "classics" in recent years.
Monster pictures presents 'Kiss of the Damned' in it's original apect ratio of 2.85:1. We only reviewed the DVD copy, however we are aware that there is also a blu ray available too. The transfer comes across with clarity and detail, for a DVD we noticed that the film remained very well compressed with no lack of detail, if this is the DVD than I'm certain the blu ray would surpass. The film is very colour heavy with it's use of blues, the nighttime scenes and rich with various hues of colour standing out. The rich black levels add to the creepy atmosphere outside at night, nothing looks washed out and it is very strong. Some night scenes can be difficult to see, unsure that of it is artistic choice or the transfer. Also there is no signs of digital grain and noise in this transfer.
Pump this movie up! The soundtrack is amazing and really does show itself off in 5.1 mix. A rich bass and groovy guitar riffs get you really engrossed and in the mood for this alternative piece of cinema. Dialogue and sound effects come off strong with some jump scares blasting, that end up rumbling the room.
Audio Commentary with Xan Cassavetes
-A very informative commentary going into what influenced to make such a film and the challenges of this being her first feature film.
Cast and Crew Interviews
-We get a series interviews that cover the cast and crew and how they got involved with working with Xan on the project.
We also get reversible artwork, the art really suits the film better than the one used for the original cover, looks like a classic 70's poster.
Direct from Monster Pictures on Blu-Ray and DVD.
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