2 July 2018



'THE ADDICTION is a stripped-back, raw and intense feature film that exudes the sophistication most '90s vampire films invariably lacked.'

'You're a slave to what you are, and you're nothing.'

Wow. This is a real mind-blower, this one is, a sexy, slick stylish vampire flick in the style of THE HUNGER, but made in black-and-white and oodles more pretentious, lol. It's the story of a New York college student called Kathleen Conklin.

She's studying philosophy in the 'Nineties, and spends her days pondering the great questions of existence as previously grappled with by Sartre, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Dante and Burroughs, guys whose names I've heard but I couldn't tell you much about them, if you know what I mean. Dante was the inferno guy and Burroughs wrote 'The Naked Lunch.' That's about it, really.

Kathleen is really into all this stuff. It ought to really come in handy when she's flipping those burgers in MacDonalds. Well, what other kinda job is she gonna get, studying that there philosophy? Ain't no jobs in that, except for maybe teaching it to the next generation of burger-flippers, heh-heh-heh. It's one-a them self-perpetuating careers, see?

Anyway, one night Kathleen is coming home from University after another snobby, up-itself lecture on the Meaning of Life in her swanky college. No, I'm not bitter, lol. I always sound like this, like vinegar dipped in lemon juice. It's just that I never finished college myself, what with one thing and another, and it's been one of the biggest regrets of my life. 

If you must know, I'm a little touchy about it and I always get jealous when I see privileged poshos in films doing what I messed up, if you see what I mean. Stupid students, think they're so great with their Uni. sweatshirts casually knotted around their stupid student shoulders... Okay, better stop now, my inner Hulk is showing...

Any-hoo, never mind all that. Kathleen is coming home one dark night when something truly unexpected and horrific happens. A sexy female vampire, known as Casanova in the film for some reason and played by the gorgeous Annabella Sciorra, attacks Kathleen in a dark alley and bites her neck and swills down her delicious haemoglobin in true vampire fashion.

You know what happens next, don't you? Well, if you've seen THE HUNGER, with Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and the late great David Bowie, you can probably have a guess at it. Yep, Kathleen develops a sudden aversion to sunlight and a hideous craving for the taste of human blood, which flows in rivers in this film, I can tell you.

Without repercussions or a backlash of any kind, Kathleen begins to attack people whom she can isolate from the crowd and get on their own. There's her male college professor, whom she f**ks and has philosophical discussions with. He's the first to get bitten. 

Maybe he deserves it too, the dirty pervert, having sex with one of his students just like a typical sleazy college professor in books or films. I don't care if having sex with your students is one of the perks for college professors. It's unethical, is what it is.

Then there's a blonde young woman, a really cute Michelle Pfeiffer lookalike, whom Kathleen meets in the college library, and there's also a young streetwise black male who thinks he's on a booty call when Kathleen jumps on him and wrestles him to the ground before biting his neck. 

He's played by real-life rapper Fredro Starr from hardcore hip-hop group Onyx. There's a lot of rap and/or hip-hop featured in THE ADDICTION. I don't confess to knowing much about this particular genre but I'm always impressed by the way the lyrics seem to rhyme so succinctly and effortlessly. It's just like poetry, only with way more swearing.

Anyway, a taxi-driver who's kind enough to try to help Kathleen when she's collapsed on the street gets the same shoddy treatment as poor hapless Fredro. Aw, bless him, he (Fredro) thought he was gonna get some. By the way, a friend of mine commented on how he clearly couldn't decide whether he wanted to call himself Fred or Pedro so he settled for... you guessed it... Fredro...!

Kathleen also attacks her college friend Jean, an older woman played by Edie Falco who's better known as Carmela Soprano from HBO Mob drama THE SOPRANOS. This film is kind of like a SOPRANOS re-union, except that in 1994 we, the viewing public, weren't yet aware of the series that first ensured that television was no longer the poor relation of the cinema. It turned television into an art form. I say this a lot, but it happens to be true.

Carmela, of course, was Tony's wife, the perfect wife and mother, cooking and shopping and getting her hair and nails done and gossiping with the other Mob wives and baking endless cookies for the school-or-church bake sale. 

Most importantly of all, she turns a blind eye to Tony's dirty dealings and frequent sexual infidelities. She can put up with it as long as there are steaks on the barbie, furs on her back and diamonds on her fingers. Lucky bitch...!

Wish I was the wife of a Mob don, lol. I'd wear all my jewellery every single day if anyone dared to call me tacky or trashy, I'd get my hubby to fit 'em for a nice concrete overcoat and matching boots. Well, no point in being Married To The Mob if ya don't avail of the perks...

Annabella Sciorra (the nice Mom from THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE) plays Mercedes saleswoman Gloria Etrillo in THE SOPRANOS, one of Tony's many mistresses and maybe the one who gives him the most grief. Although they all seem to wreck his head...

Michael Imperioli, Tony Soprano's young nephew and criminal protegé Christopher Moltisanti, the nephew who in the end becomes a crack-head and a liability, has a cameo role towards the end of THE ADDICTION as a sort of religious nut-slash-missionary handing out leaflets about free lunches to a bored public.

Like I said, there's your SOPRANOS re-union right there, or maybe I should say pre-union, as it takes place before they all get together to fulfil David Chase's dream of making the best damn television series ever created.

Kathleen's story ends in as bizarre a massacre as you'll probably ever see in a film, but not until she's been used and abused by the legend that is Christopher Walken playing a weird vampire guy living in a fabulous loft apartment type place.

He's called Peina, which is ironic, as he seems to specialise in the giving of pain to those who are unlucky enough- or stupid enough- to cross his path. He's been a vampire probably for centuries longer than the naïve Kathleen and he really takes the dozey young newbie to school.

There's an awful lot of philosophising in this film which I don't pretend to understand. I never studied philosophy and, just between you and me, I don't think I ever will, either. Just like the Waldorf Salad Guy in FAWLTY TOWERS who was dead certain that he was never ever gonna try a Ritz salad, haha. We're two of a kind, him and me. He was certain about that and I'm reasonably certain about this.

It's obviously a very arty, art-house type of vampire flick that tries to equate the addiction to blood-sucking with an addiction to taking drugs. Certainly the paraphernalia of drugs is pretty prevalent in the film.

I hate needles, me, so all that shooting-up stuff kind of freaks me out. I especially hate seeing needles going into skinny arms that have ropes of really obvious veins running through 'em. I'm squeamish about all that stuff, see?

There are deeply distressing images of concentration camp victims interspersed throughout the film too- Kathleen and Jean go to see some kind of Holocaust exhibition- but I'm not entirely sure why.

The whole film is obviously a really clever metaphor for something, for different types of addiction, maybe, and for sin as well which gets a mention in the film. From my point of view, however, it's just a brilliant vampire film with an ending you couldn't guess in a million years. Watch it. See if I'm not right.

THE ADDICTION is available to buy now from ARROW VIDEO. It comes complete with a
whole host of special features, including TALKING WITH THE VAMPIRES (2018), a new documentary about the film made by Abel Ferrara especially for this release. It features actors Christopher Walken and Lili Taylor, composer Joe Delia, Ken Kelsch and Abel Ferrara himself.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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