Once Bitten (1985)

Thanks to my friend Adam Cicco for suggesting this movie. It’s one of Becca’s favorites, so she was really happy that we watched it. She’s loved the soundtrack and knows pretty much every word.

Interestingly enough, the role of the Countess was written for Elvira and screenwriter Jeffrey Hause wanted Michael J. Fox to star in the film, but executive producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. was convinced that Fox wasn’t a big screen star. Whoops.

The eternally youthful Countess (Lauren Hutton) is immortal but must consume the blood of a virgin man three times every Halloween to stay that way. That’s getting harder and harder to do these days — virgins are in short supply.

Mark Kendall might look thirty (Jim Carrey, in his first major film role, was 23 at the time of its release), but he’s your normal horny teenager. However, his girlfriend Robin won’t put out. So he and his friends Jamie and Russ decide to go to a Hollywood singles bar. That’s where Mark’s seduced by the Countess and bitten for the first time. Now, she has him under her spell and it’s up to Robin and his friends to bring him back to the side of the living.

The Countess has an entire army of vampires (one of whom is Camilla More, one-half of the Terry and Tina twins in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) and her assistant Sebastian to help her in her aims. Sebastian is played by Cleavon Little, who was in Vanishing Point but may be best known as playing Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles. He was selected for the role after Warner Brothers rejected Richard Pryor, who co-wrote the script, due to his reputation for drug use and unpredictable behavior. He’d also go on to co-star with Pryor in Greased Lightning. Also: if you need a good trivia question to stump people, he’s the brother of singer DeEtta Little, who sang the vocals with Nelson Pigford on “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from Rocky.

Megan Mullally also shows up in a small role, years before she’d become better known on TV’s Will and Grace.

I just love the alternate titles that this movie has in other countries: Seduction Has Teeth, Vampires Forever, Virgin Boy Wanted, I Love a Vampire, Just One Bite and Kiss Princess.

It’s kind of strange watching this movie in 2019, but any movie over thirty years old really needs to be considered as of the time it was made. For example, the shower scene where Jamie and Russ try to find out of Mark has a bite on his thigh and are confronted by homophobic slurs may seem pretty rough today. And it is. However, this scene was based on a personal experience of co-writer Jeffrey Hause. And the Sebastian character is very much how gay men were perceived at the time. Luckily, we’ve grown — well, I hope we have — since then.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

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