Once Bitten (1985 film)
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|Directed by||Howard Storm|
|Written by||Jonathan Roberts|
Dimitri Villard (story)
|Music by||John Du Prez|
|Distributed by||The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|Box office||$10 million (United States and Canada)|
Once Bitten is a 1985 American teen horror sex comedy film, starring Lauren Hutton, Jim Carrey, and Karen Kopins. Carrey has his first major lead role playing Mark Kendall, an innocent and naïve high school student who is seduced in a Hollywood nightclub by a sultry blonde countess (Hutton), who unknown to him is a centuries-old vampire.
Being 400 years old, the Countess has collected a stable of young men and women who accompany her on her centuries-old journey through eternal night-and youth. While she is immortal, she is required to drink the blood of a young male virgin three times by Halloween each year to keep her immortality and youthful appearance - a task she finds increasingly and extremely hard, since attractive young male virgins are almost impossible to find in the 1980s, particularly in hedonistic cities, in this case, Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, high school student Mark Kendall wants to have sex, but is being put off by his girlfriend Robin Pierce. One night, Mark and his best friends Jamie and Russ go into a singles bar in Hollywood. Mark meets the Countess, he goes back to her mansion, and after she seduces him, he passes out when she bites his thigh. When he wakes up, she pretends they have had sex and tells him that he is now hers. Mark does not know what she means, and over the next few days, he begins showing strange behaviors: having strange dreams, avoiding direct sunlight, and even drinking blood (from raw meat). After the Countess gets a second bite, Robin notices Mark's odd behavior and confronts the Countess during a dance-off at the high school's Halloween dance.
While it appears that Robin has won back Mark, this is only temporary. The Countess kidnaps Robin to lure Mark to her mansion for a final bite before her deadline expires, and it is up to Robin, Jamie, and Russ to stop her. Eventually, to save Mark from the Countess's clutches, Robin and Mark have sex in a coffin while being chased by the Countess's minions, thereby taking Mark's virginity, bringing him back to normal. This renders him useless to the Countess as she has to drink virgin blood. Defeated, the Countess then begins to grow old and decrepit before their eyes. The Countess' assistant, Sebastian, tells her not to worry as there are other virgins in the world despite the fact that the Countess doubts she will find another virgin. The movie ends with Mark and Robin continuing to have sex in the coffin.
- Lauren Hutton as the Countess
- Jim Carrey as Mark Kendall
- Karen Kopins as Robin Pierce
- Cleavon Little as Sebastian, the Countess's manservant
- Thomas Ballatore as Jamie
- Skip Lackey as Russ
- Richard Schaal as Mr. Kendall, Mark's father
- Peggy Pope as Mrs. Kendall, Mark's mother
- Megan Mullally as Suzette
The Countess's Vampires
- Jeb Stuart Adams as World War I Ace Vampire
- Joseph Brutsman as Confederate Vampire
- Stuart Charno as Cabin Boy Vampire
- Robin Klein as 1960s Flower Child Vampire
- Carey More as Moll Flanders Vampire
- Glen Mauro as Twin Vampire #1
- Gary Mauro as Twin Vampire #2
The film was released on November 15, 1985 on 1,095 screens, and opened at number one at the U.S. box office, grossing $4,025,657 for the weekend. It eventually earned around $10 million in the United States and Canada.
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 18% of 11 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 3.4/10. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that it "has a lot more stylishness than wit." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it an "extreme rarity" for its subtle and hilarious sexual humor in a teen film. Rita Kempley of The Washington Post described it as "a sappy, sophomoric sex farce" that uses dated humor.
Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream film critics, reported that there were "generally favorable reviews," with an average score of 64 based on 4 reviews.
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The film was released on VHS by Vestron Video in 1986, by Video Treasures in 1995, again by Hallmark Home Entertainment, and by MGM Home Entertainment in 1999. It was released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment on August 26, 2003. It was re-released on DVD on July 17, 2007 in a Totally Awesome 80s Double Feature Pack, by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, along with Vampire's Kiss.
Once Bitten was released on DVD once again by TGG Direct on January 25, 2011, in a comedy four-pack with Easy Money, Throw Momma from the Train, and Blame It on Rio. Scream Factory released the film on Blu-Ray on February 10, 2015, with the audio enhanced to 5.1 surround sound. The film is available online for streaming rentals and downloads though Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Vudu.
- "Once Bitten". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Maslin, Janet (November 15, 1985). "Once Bitten (1985) FILM: 'ONCE BITTEN,' VAMPIRE HUMOR".
- "B-Sides: Hands Off Jim Carrey, He Belongs to Me". Dread Central.
- Greenberg, James (November 20, 1985). "B.O. Starves; 'Once' Bows In 1st Place". Variety. p. 3.
- "Once Bitten (1985)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Maslin, Janet (1985-11-15). "FILM: 'ONCE BITTEN,' VAMPIRE HUMOR". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Thomas, Kevin (1985-11-15). "Movie Review : 'Once Bitten': Vampire Puts On Vamp". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Kempley, Rita (1985-11-15). "'Once Bitten'? No Fangs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- "Once Bitten Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
- Scream Factory: Spirits, Vamps and New Year’s Classics On Blu-ray!