Oct. 18th: Once Bitten (1985)


Well it just wouldn’t be a true Shindig countdown with only one lonely 80’s monster comedy, so stacking the Halloween deck for us is the 1985 Jim Carrey vampire flick Once Bitten.

Jim plays high school virgin Mark Kendall, who just can’t seem to convince his girlfriend Robin to put out. So he and a couple buddies hit Hollywood in the great America pursuit of some first-time trim.

Unfortunately he finds The Countess, a seductive MILF with cougarish designs. How is this unfortunate? Well, she’s a vampire, and a vampire that needs virginal blood each year to maintain those timeless good looks no less. As an added caveat, she must drink of this virgin a total of 3 times before Halloween or her beauty will fade away.

So, after what he believes is a one-night-stand, Mark is sucked into a slow decent toward vampirism; wearing shades, dressing cooler, eating raw steaks and losing his reflection. Can Robin discover the cause of Mark’s strange behavior and win him away from the clutches of the evil countess, or is Mark doomed to join her cadre of immortal suitors?

It’s a great 80’s comedy with an early and wonderful performance from Jim Carrey that’s filled with countless hallmarks of his later characters and style. Some fun supporting characters and another humorous turn from Blazing Saddles’ Clevon Little make the movie all that more enjoyable.

And then, of course, there’s the extensive and memorable Halloween Party Dance-Off, where Hand’s Off by Maria Vidal (a playlist inclusion at #45) plays while Jim dances between sultry vamp Lauren Hutton and girl next door Karen Kopins.

October is as fine a time as any to treat yourself to this 80’s monster comedy with the Halloween Shindig Halloween seal of approval.

Monster Talk: 80's Monster Comedies

Hands Off is the first musical selection of several from what I like to call 80’s Monster Comedies.

I guess in the 80’s, making silly comedies featuring werewolves, vampires and other monsters seemed like a good idea. And it was, at least I think it was, as this is perhaps my favorite sub-genre of film.

If I was ever handed the keys to a classroom at a University that didn’t particularly pride itself on their staff, I’d probably create the course “80’s Monster Comedies 101.” We’d sit around and watch these films, discuss them at length and then write needlessly analytical papers regarding their cultural context.

C’mon? You wouldn’t take that course? Fuck yeah you would. You mean I’d get college credit for writing a paper about Teen Wolf? Yes. Yes you would. But it better be a damn good paper, cause I ain’t gradin’ on no curve.

Here’s the course outline.

Week 1: Intro to Course / Full Moon High (1981)

  • Full Moon High bridges a gap between 70’s comedy and 80’s comedy. Discuss the elements of it’s 70’s sensibility. Does it make for a better or worse film in your opinion? Also, why is Alan Arkin so great? Oh he’s not? Please take this F with you on your way out the door.

Week 2: Teen Wolf (1985)

  • Would being a Werewolf actually make you a better basketball player? And if not, is there really any objection to one playing at a high school level? Bonus points for discussion of why Bobby Finnstock is the greatest coach ever to appear on film.

Week 3: Once Bitten (1985)

  • Fun tale of vampirism, or American morality play of underage/unprotected/anonymous sex during the AIDS era?

Week 4: My Best Friend Is A Vampire (1987)

  • Interesting addition to the legacy, or sub-par knock-off of Once Bitten? Extra points for a comparison of lifted elements appearing in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Week 5: Teen Wolf Too (1987)

  • Is it morally objectionable to pit a college-aged student against a creature of the night in a combat based sport like boxing?

Week 6: Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

  • Nicholas Cage is absolutely fucking crazy in this film. It may very well be his most insane performance ever. So, here’s a Nicholas Cage wild card – make your argument as to which decade is best for Mr. Cage: The 80’s, The 90’s or The ‘00’s. Make the argument as to which is the worst. Then argue which film contains your favorite/best performance (note: those 2 distinctions might not be the same for you.)

Week 7: Monster High (1989)

  • Holy shit! This movie is utter garbage. Explain exactly why this movie is so god-awful and disappointing. Then detail how it could have been a great example of an 80’s Monster Comedy.

Week 8: Rockula (1990) and Final

  • Though technically released in February of 1990, Rockula was clearly filmed during the 80’s and feels like a 80’s monster comedy through and through. Discussion of the music, Dean Cameron’s Awesomeness or the opening title sequence will all be accepted.
  • Final: Discuss 80’s Monster Comedies as a genre using examples from the entire course. Why are they great? Oh they’re not? Then why do you hate them? Why couldn’t these movies really work in any other decade?

As extra credit, I’ll accept papers on Love At First Bite (1979) being so close to making the cut, and Monster Squad (1987) which I don’t consider a 80’s Monster Comedy, but will certainly earn you an A for writing.

And make sure to join us next semester for the follow-up course 80’s Party Monsters.

tl;dr crowd….apologies.


Hand’s Off

045_once-bittenTRACK #45:

Hands Off by Maria Vidal

So, we’re just over 2 hours into the playlist, and you’re party should be starting to pick up a little. But you’re guests are pissed, “What’s with this music? We can’t dance to this shit!”

Well, problem solved, thanks to Maria Vidal and Once Bitten.

If Jim Carrey, Lauren Hutton and Karen Kopins can all dance to this, and as well as they do, than anyone can.