Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kiss, The (1988)

Directed by:
Pen Densham

Polish-born model/actress Joanna Pacula (a one-time Roman Polanski ‘discovery’) contributes a menacing performance as the sexy and mysterious Felice. Five months after her sister Hilary (Pamela Collyer, from EVIL JUDGMENT) dies in a shocking "accidental" car crash, she goes to live with her widowed brother-in-law Jack (Nicholas Kilbertus) and his teen daughter Amy (Meredith Salenger) in Albany, New York. Amy knows something isn't right when people start dying, Felice starts slapping on the seductive charm for dad and she witnesses her auntie performing a topless black magic ritual. It turns out that Felice is some sort of evil sorceress who wants to pass on the old family curse to her niece by a woman-to-woman smooch. The Kiss is pretty silly overall, has a ridiculous, over-the-top climax that's impossible to take seriously and shamelessly borrows elements from THE OMEN (sporadically placed creative gore murders), THE HIDDEN (monster coming out of the mouth) and CAT PEOPLE (the whole basic plotline), but still manages to make it all entertaining. Especially nice here are the performances from Pacula and Mimi Kuzyk, who plays the supportive next door neighbor who acts as a mother figure to Salenger. There's also a memorable escalator-mangling-a-face scene that plays on a popular fear.
Also in the cast are Jan Rubes, Vlasta Vrana as a bishop, Peter Dvorsky as a priest and future director Shawn Levy, who appeared in this and ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE (1986) before becoming one of Hollywood's top directors of family-friendly films (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, etc.). Co-scripter Stephen Volk returned with the similar film THE GUARDIAN (1990), which involved a mysterious and sexy druid nanny offering up human sacrifices to some tree God.


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