Coming off the Alan Thicke ski resort dud Copper Mountain (the 51st worst movie of all time, according to IMDb voters), Jim Carrey might not have seemed destined for greatness, but within a couple years, the 23-year-old found himself starring in the semi-legit Once Bitten. Part vampire movie, part standard issue ’80s teen comedy, this is the story of Bobby Todd (Carrey), a teenager so desperate to lose his virginity that he spends the night with a fortysomething vampire (Lauren Hutton). His girlfriend turns out to be unusually accepting of the newly pale complexioned Bobby, objecting to little more than his newfound resemblance to Jerry Lewis. (This puzzling comparison inspires one of the movie’s undeniable highlights: Carrey’s ludicrous impersonation of Robert De Niro.) 
 
By any sane standard of quality, this is a pretty awful movie. In addition to a complete lack of narrative momentum, Once Bitten is cursed with the juvenile, broad comic sensibilities of sitcom auteur Howard Storm (Rhoda, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy). This results in vampire rules that don’t make much sense—Bobby doesn’t appear in mirrors… sometimes—and some extremely misguided ’80s homophobia, including a group shower sequence that causes a vocal onslaught of gay panic (aka “the suckiest thing that could ever happen”). In spite of these undeniable shortcomings, the film is also redeemed by its relentless ’80s-isms.
 
 
With their fast food jobs and irreverent t-shirts (“freelance gynecologist”), Bobby and his pals are the prototypical ’80s teen movie trio. They constantly talk about getting laid, and speak in elaborately unfunny, even illogical one-liners. (Example: “What you know about women would fill an atom-sized piece of toilet paper.”) A ridiculous theme song and a misguided message to young women—if you don’t sleep with your boyfriend, terrible things will happen—complete the package, confirming Once Bitten’s place as an unintentional triumph of bad taste.
 
As an added bonus, this disc includes Love at First Bite, a far superior vampire comedy that has proven to be the highlight of actor George Hamilton’s erratic movie career. Even if you already own this cult favourite on DVD, you might want to consider an upgrade, as this version restores several soundtrack cues (including vampire no-brainer “I Love the Night Life”) that were removed from earlier editions. If this double bill leaves you thirsty for more, you can also sink your teeth into some radio spots and theatrical trailers.
 
Once Bitten

 


 
Love at First Bite