I recently ran into my old friend Jenn Gatien (who produced the 2011 documentary Limelight about her dad) and writer/director Xan Cassavetes at a party at the Chateau Marmont. I hadn’t seen Jenn in almost 15 years (!!!) and when I asked what she was up to, she said that she and Xan had just wrapped production on a quirky new vampire movie Kiss of the Damned, starring super-humpy Milo Ventimiglia, model/actress (and granddaughter of Elvis) Riley Keough, international it-girl and Lagerfeld muse Anna Mouglalis, and the once-adorable Michael Rapaport. Which sounds like a dream cast, but ANOTHER VAMPIRE MOVIE? I wasn’t sure I had room in my heart for more bloodsuckers. That is, until today when I ran across this GORGEOUS poster for the film, and this interview with Xan in movies.com.
Movies.com: Going off the poster, is Kiss of the Damned a callback to older, European vampire movies?
Xan Cassavetes: Yeah, it’s definitely more European. The poster is a bit more homage-y than the movie. It’s definitely more influenced by European horror of the ’60s and ’70s, but it’s not an homage movie. It goes its own routes.
Movies.com: How do you make a vampire movie stand out in this day and age? Do you have to navigate people’s expectations?
Cassavetes: The only expectations I’ve ever cared about are my own. The movie is kind of strange, but it’s what I wanted it to be. It is a vampire movie, and I love vampire movies that are big and opulent and they have extreme sexuality in them, but they’re also fun and melodramatic. They’re sarcastic, but they’re not. I love this forum to play in. Everything I’ve ever wanted to write has erotic subtext, because those are the kinds of movies I grew up on. I grew up on European films where sexuality was a part of people’s normal lives and to omit that depiction in a story feels like it’s missing an opportunity to show a character in one of its most intense forms.
Movies.com: Is there any single way you’d want to pitch the film to lure in midnight audiences?
Cassavetes: I have no idea. The poster definitely is evocative of one thing, and hopefully the way the film plays out is beyond expectations of a throwback film or whatever. I hope it brings out a vintage and European sensibility and mixes it with the here and now and is resonant with people on a level that’s different than what they’ve seen before.
So I’m sold. Kiss of the Damned will be released on VOD March 28, and in theaters beginning May 3.