Love at First Bite
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|Love at First Bite|
|Directed by||Stan Dragoti|
|Produced by||Joel Freeman|
|Written by||Robert Kaufman|
Susan Saint James
|Music by||Charles Bernstein|
|Editing by||Mort Fallick
|Distributed by||American International Pictures
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
|Running time||94 minutes|
Love at First Bite is a 1979 comedy horror film directed by Stan Dragoti and written by Robert Kaufman, using characters originally created by Bram Stoker. It stars George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin and Arte Johnson. The original music score was composed by Charles Bernstein. The film's tagline is: "Your favorite pain in the neck is about to bite your funny bone!"
The infamous vampire Count Dracula is expelled from his castle by the Communist government of Romania, which plans to convert the structure into a training facility for gymnasts (the head trainer declares that it will include Nadia Comăneci). The world-weary Count travels to New York City with his bug-eating manservant, Renfield, and establishes himself in a hotel, but only after a mix-up at the airport causes his coffin to be accidentally sent to be the centerpiece in a funeral at a black church in Harlem. While Dracula learns that America contains such wonders as blood banks, he also proceeds to suffer the general ego-crushing that comes from modern life in the Big Apple as he romantically pursues flaky fashion model Cindy Sondheim, whom he has admired from afar and believes to be the current reincarnation of his true love (an earlier being named Mina Harker).
Dracula is ineptly pursued in turn by Sondheim's psychiatrist and quasi-boyfriend Jeffrey Rosenberg. Jeffrey is the grandson of Dracula's old nemesis Fritz (sic) van Helsing but changed his name to Rosenberg "for professional reasons". Rosenberg's numerous methods to combat Dracula - mirrors, garlic, a Star of David (which he uses instead of the cross), and hypnosis - are easily averted by the Count. Rosenberg also tries burning Dracula's coffin with the vampire still inside, but is arrested by hotel security. Subsequently he tries to shoot him with three silver bullets, but Dracula remains unscathed, patiently explaining that this works only on werewolves. Rosenberg's increasingly erratic actions eventually cause him to be locked up as a lunatic, but as mysterious cases of blood-bank robberies and vampiric attacks begin to spread, NYPD Lieutenant Ferguson starts to believe the psychiatrist's claims and gets him released.
In the end, as a major blackout hits the city, Dracula flees via taxi cab back to the airport with Cindy, pursued by Rosenberg and Ferguson. The coffin is accidentally sent to Jamaica instead of London and the couple miss their plane. On the runway, Cindy finally agrees to become Dracula's vampire bride. Rosenberg attempts to stake Dracula, but as he moves in for the kill, the two fly off as bats together. A check drops down by which Cindy pays off her (enormous) psychiatry bill to Rosenberg, to which he remarks: "She has become a responsible person ... or whatever." Rosenberg keeps Dracula's cape - the only thing his stake had hit - which Ferguson borrows, hoping (since the cape makes the wearer look stylish) it will help him on his wedding anniversary. The last scene shows Dracula and Cindy, transformed into bats, on their way to Jamaica.
- George Hamilton as Count Vladimir Dracula
- Susan Saint James as Cindy Sondheim
- Richard Benjamin as Dr. Jeffrey Rosenberg/Van Helsing
- Dick Shawn as Lieutenant Ferguson NYPD
- Arte Johnson as Renfield
- Ronnie Schell as Guy in Elevator
- Isabel Sanford as Judge R. Thomas
- Sherman Hemsley as Reverend Mike
- Barry Gordon as Flashlight Vendor
- Bob Basso as T.V. Repairman
- Bryan O'Byrne as Priest
- Ralph Manza as Limo Driver
- Michael Pataki as Mobster
The film was a financial success, earning about $43 million and ranking at 13th place on a list of the top grossing films of 1979. In fact, it was one of the highest grossing independent films of all time for many years. However, critical reviews were mixed, and Love at First Bite has a 67% "fresh" rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews. As quoted by Rotten Tomatoes, Janet Maslin described Love as "[a] coarse, delightful little movie with a bang-up cast and no pretensions at all," while Dave Kehr lamented the film's "hodgepodge of flat one-liners and graceless slapstick."
It's terrific. It's all about old world school of Dracula in the Bela Lugosi 1940s up against the Twilight felons with humor, It's hard to do but it's great fun. I think 'Twilight' is a wonderful series of books. It's so important for these young girls with hormonal changes and this love that's worth giving your life for. But now I have to find a way to bring my 'Love At First Bite' character into that kind of story and make it funny and not be at all like 'Twilight' and I think I found a way to do that.
The only storyline that has been released for "Love at Second Bite" is:
- Twenty five years later, Dracula's Americanized son rejects his family's heritage and gets married to a human. Trouble begins when he learns that his vampire relatives are coming to America for the wedding.
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- Love at First Bite at the Internet Movie Database
- Love at First Bite at the TCM Movie Database
- Love at First Bite at allmovie
- Love at First Bite at Rotten Tomatoes
- New York Times listing