The Addiction

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For the professional wrestling tag team, see The Addiction (professional wrestling).
The Addiction
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Abel Ferrara
Produced by Preston L. Holmes
Russell Simmons
Denis Hann
Fernando Sulichin
Written by Nicholas St. John
Starring Lili Taylor
Christopher Walken
Annabella Sciorra
Edie Falco
Paul Calderón
Fredro Starr
Kathryn Erbe
Michael Imperioli
Jamel Simmons
Music by Joe Delia
Cinematography Ken Kelsch
Edited by Mayin Lo
Distributed by October Films
Release dates
October 6, 1995
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $302,393

The Addiction is a 1995 American vampire film directed by Abel Ferrara, starring Lili Taylor, Edie Falco, Paul Calderón, Kathryn Erbe and Christopher Walken. It was written by Ferrara's regular screenwriter, Nicholas St John, filmed in black-and-white and released simultaneously with Ferrara's period gangster film, The Funeral.

The film has been considered an allegory about drug addiction, as well as an allegory of the theological concept of sin.[1] It contains philosophical, theological and other intellectual content, including references to Husserl, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, and Descartes. The film also features a vampire quoting the highly conservative Reformed Theologian R. C. Sproul, who is a critic of Roman Catholicism.


Kathleen Conklin (Taylor), a young philosophy student at New York University, is attacked by a woman (Annabella Sciorra), who tells her "order me to go away" and, when the frightened Kathleen is unable to do so, bites her neck and drinks her blood. Kathleen develops several of the traditional symptoms of vampirism, including aversion to daylight, but the film's main focus is on her moral degradation. It is hinted that vampires become immortal in this film, but the price is an addiction to blood. Vampires are shown repeatedly resorting to the strategy of blaming their victims for not being strong enough to resist them. As one of Kathleen's victims weeps incredulously over the damage, Kathleen coldly informs her: "My indifference is not the concern here - it's your astonishment that needs studying."

Eventually Kathleen meets Peina (Walken), a vampire who claims to have almost conquered his addiction, and as a result is almost human. For a time he keeps her in his home trying to help her overcome hers, recommending that she read William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch. At her graduation party, she says "I'd like to share a little bit of what I've learned" she and her victims (now vampires themselves) attack the party goers, participating in a bloody, chaotic vampire orgy.

After the party, Kathleen appears to be wracked with regret and wanders the streets. She ends up in a hospital and asks the nurse to let her die. The nurse says no one will let her die. Kathleen then decides to commit suicide by asking the nurse to open the window shades.

Kathleen is again confronted with the woman who first bit her, who stops her suicide attempt and quotes R.C. Sproul to her. Kathleen Conklin gives in to her new fate as an immortal vampire. In the final scene, she is shown walking away from a grave with her own name on it, in broad daylight, having apparently defeated her addiction. Coincidentally, her birthdate on the tombstone is Halloween, 1967. The date of her death is November 1, 1994. The movie ends with Kathleen quoting the line: "self revelation is annihilation of self."



According to Abel Ferrara, the characters of Peina and Casanova were originally written as a female and male respectively. When Christopher Walken read the script, he thought Peina was a male character and wanted to play the role. As a result, Walken had his way on portraying Peina whereas Casanova was played by Annabella Sciorra.[2]


The film was nominated for the Golden Bear award at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Blue Angel Award.[3] Lili Taylor won Best Foreign Actress Sant Jordi Award. Film also received Best Actress (Taylor), Best Film (Abel Ferrara) and Special Mention Award for outstanding acting performance of Academy Award-winner actor Christopher Walken in Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema. The film was also nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and won Critics Award in Mystfest and was also nominated for Best Film.[4] The film has received high praise from the critic Peter Bradshaw, who named it as one of his top ten favourite films in a 2002 Sight and Sound poll.[5]

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