Kiss of the Damned

USA 2012
Director: Xan Cassavetes
Cast: Joséphine de La Baume, Roxane Mesquida, Milo Ventimiglia

97 Min. | OV


The vampire myth is continually sprayed with the holy waters of mass compatibility by the entertainment industry. The longing for suppressed dreams and guilty pleasures of the classical vampire movies is changed into a manipulative instrument for the conditioning of a willing youth. Boringly empty teen idols preach abstinence and a desire for social acceptance under the strong tutelage of a lawful authority. The tile alone of Xan Cassavetes debut feature is an elegant rebellion against this thinking. Her story of the beautiful vampire Djuna who falls in love with the writer Paolo and comes to yearn for the mortality of human life, is rooted deeply in the genre’s philosophy and romantic motives. Cassavetes achieves a feast for all senses by celebrating her love of the great European predecessors from the 1970s. The elegiac images of Harry Kümel’s »Blood on the Lips« or the explosions of color of Mario Bava come to mind. Still Cassavetes manages to create her own visual style and leads the genre into the 21st Century with a masterful hand. Full of melancholy, steeped in eroticism and with a lot black humor, she hands the vampire film genre back to the grown ups.