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John’s Horror Corner: The Kiss (1988)

March 23, 2011

The Kiss (1988)

John Leavengood

MY CALL:      For a B-Horror Movie, I’ll give this a “B”.  This movie features two lovely ladies: Joanna Pacula, who played Val Kilmer’s prostitute main squeeze in Tombstone, and Meredith Salinger, who played the very cute deputy in Lake Placid.  The movie was at times a little slow-paced and overdeveloped for a rather simple plot, but the production value was certainly competitive with horror movies of its time and damn does Joanna Pacula make a sexy voodoo witch!  The death scenes are also pretty fun and creative.  If you like 80’s B-Horror, then you’ll like this.

IF YOU LIKED THIS THEN WATCH:               Lifeforce (1985)…In fact, I reference a lot of movies in this review.  If you haven’t seen any of them, you probably should.  Lifeforce is just the closest one in terms of genre.  But, for example, The Hidden and The Re-Animator are absolute must-sees.  Listen to me, kids, I’m giving you pearls, here!

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Why, why, why does all of the bad stuff in the world seem to come from the tropics?  That ebola-ish virus from the Outbreak monkey, the zombie-ism-infected mutant rat thing in Dead-Alive, the nasty spider from Arachnaphobia, and now evil voodoo relics in this movie…all from South America, Papua New Guinea and Africa.  Go figure, the birds of paradise must all be lethal to survive such wilds.

The movie opens in the Belgian Congo in 1963.  Early on we see that a young girl’s aunt has a weird rash and a creepy voodoo-ish objet d’art.  This provocative antique seems to stare at the apparently possessed aunt as she awakens her tweenie niece, Felice, from a nap with a scream-muffling stranglehold and kissing her.  Kissing her 12(?)-year-old niece.  Nice.  After this curious act the aunt’s body looks drained (suspiciously similar to the life-drained victims of the hot, naked space-vampire from LifeForce, which was released in 1985 and features Patrick Stewart—just FYI).  Contrastingly, the young niece looks quite vibrant after the molestation.

Cut to present day (1988) in the United States.  Now all grown up and an aunt herself, Felice (Joanna Pacula) calls her sister out of the blue.  Afterwards the sister is inexplicably scared and dies in a freak accident while window-shopping for guns.  After the funeral, Felice becomes a part of Amy (Meredith Salinger) and her widower father’s life.  Shortly after her arrival, Amy’s BFF gets mutilated in a freak accident involving an escalator at the mall.  While snooping through Felice’s things, Amy finds a voodoo starter kit and some evidence linking her to her friend’s “attack”.

Felice seduces the father and we see that Felice, like her aunt, has a weird rash.  Amy’s boyfriend, who looks like he’d be a young fourth member of Color Me Bad, catches Felice conducting a naked voodoo ritual so naturally he dies next.  Meanwhile Felice’s rash is spreading—Lord knows why.

It’s really no spoiler to inform you that “the kiss” transmits a wormy parasite that uses the host body until the body is all used up, then on to the next body.  Does this sound similar to The Hidden?  Both of these mouth-to-mouth evil worm transmission movies were released in 1987.  The major difference is that Felice, unlike the wormy alien of The Hidden, didn’t care for sunglasses and red sports cars and that she had to transmit to someone of her own bloodline.

Okay, so now I’m going to try to sell you into renting this based on a way cool aspect of the movie.  If you like super-nuts, badass cats then rent this!  Felice’s cat is in a few scenes in the movie and is even used as a “hitcat”.  I haven’t seen a creepier cat since the broken-backed back-to-life feline of The Re-Animator.  This cat was so badass that I bet it could surely hold its own against the rabbit with big pointy teeth that murdered those poor bastards in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  It’s apparently rabid, puffy, evil-looking, and has a really fun demise near the end of the movie involving a rake and a bug zapper.

If you like 80’s B-Horror, then please add this to your queue!  You won’t regret it.

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