April 9, 2011

The Kiss (1988)



"This supernatural horror tale features Joanna Pacula as a mysterious fashion model who, as a child living in the Belgian Congo, was possessed by an evil spirit as the result of a kiss administered by a voodoo priestess. Twenty-five years later, Pacula shows up for the confirmation of her niece and soon the blood begins to flow."

I started watching "The Kiss" about 15 years ago on the German RTL2 satellite channel but only saw as far as the escalator scene before something went horribly wrong with my cheap Matsui receiver (if you are British then you probably had exactly the same one from Dixon's so you know what I mean). As you can see from the price of the DVD at Amazon, this isn't a film that you can acquire all that cheaply so it has taken until now for me to get it through Netflix. Obviously, "The Kiss" made such a lasting impression on me that I really rushed to find out what the hell I had been watching.

Suffice it to say that I could quite happily have never seen the rest of this film without any major impact on my life. It's awful in ways that make other bad horror movies look like Oscar winners in comparison. The acting is horrible, the weird cat-thing which does all the killing is as badly made as something out of "Pipkins" (yeah, that shows my age!), and Joanna Pacula from "Gorky Park" spent far too much time looking angry with her clothes on. Maybe she would have looked happier if she'd been nude for the whole thing. I know I would have.

I just couldn't get into "The Kiss" properly and it had nothing to do with how late '80s it all looked. A bad film is a bad film no matter what era it comes from. I also have no idea who Meredith Salenger is or was or why the fanboys on IMDb think she was so beautiful in this. Yes, she was sort of reminiscent of a young Sandra Bullock with a bigger mouth, but she did nothing for me especially as her character was hardly required to be sexy. Sometimes I just want to shake nerds on message boards.

Since I don't care if I spoil this film for you (especially as nobody reads my blog at the weekends anyway for some reason), it's all about some kind of snakey parasite thing which is transferred from one generation to another through a kiss. It's not quite "The Hidden", but the physical kiss itself has little to do with the parasite emerging out of the mouth of one host and going down the throat of another. I suppose the attempted girl-on-girl snogging could be considered erotic if you're 12 years old, but it did nothing for me. Why there was also a witchcraft angle to this I have no idea except that it made the whole thing seem more supernatural than the unimaginative science-fiction that it turned out to be.

I also have to mention the cat-thing that caused all the "accidental" deaths of Meredith's teenage friends along the way because it was so glaringly fake and considerably crap. Imagine if you got some cheap, horribly made, stuffed toy cat, stuck a load of extra fangs in its mouth and then shook it around in front of the camera with appropriate snarling noises. Yes, that was the effect. It looked dead, it looked fake, it looked completely unscary as possible. What were they thinking?

The death scenes could have been good if they'd actually occurred more onscreen than off, but I suppose the filmmakers were trying to make it more scary by leaving things to your imagination. Either that or they had no budget for decent effects. I've noticed that a lot of people remember the escalator death as being a lot more horrible than it really was which intrigued me because I only saw that far, as I said, before it cut to RTL2's commercials (and then I lost the free satellite channel completely) so I was sure that I missed something good. It turned out that I hadn't. You don't get to see anything!

Anyway, if you are looking for a quick way to waste about $50 on a crap late '80s horror movie just to see Joanna Pacula get topless for a few seconds then I wholeheartedly recommend "The Kiss" to you. If you'd rather wait until it turns up on VHS in a yard sale then I recommend it even more. Of course, you can always do what I did and rent "The Kiss" through Netflix because it's really not something that you want to admit to having in your collection anyway. Yes, this film is most definitely another one for The Dungeon.

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