Peter Loew in Vampire’s Kiss As A Forerunner of Patrick Bateman

The 1980s were a liberal time, though it might not have seemed so as it was happening. Smoking in offices, calling women cunts openly and biting people’s necks at Tunnel are just some of the examples exhibited in Robert Bierman’s Vampire’s Kiss.

Channeling Bateman as a literary agent
Channeling Bateman as a literary agent
The hero of the story, Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage, showcasing an incomprehensible accent), is in so many respects an obvious forerunner for the character that would ultimately become Patrick Bateman. It’s easy to believe Bret Easton Ellis, who published American Psycho in 1991, may have taken in a showing of Vampire’s Kiss when it first came out in 1989. Although Ellis would later state that Bateman was based on his father, Loew as a genesis to this iconic character is not implausible.
Psycho
Psycho
As a more than mildly sleazy literary agent living in New York, Loew immediately comes across as a hollow carapace merely searching for one-night stands as a means to distract himself from his quintessential 80s emptiness. Like Bateman, he tends to treat women as disposably as tissue paper. Except the one woman he should treat as such, Rachel (Jennifer Beals, in one final shining moment post-Flashdance), the vampire who bites him and turns him into a Bateman-esque psycho.
Bateman dilemmas
Bateman dilemmas
The similarities continue with specific regard to the way Loew and Bateman act toward their respective secretaries, Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso) and Jean (Chloë Sevigny). Both women are used as emotional punching bags for their boss’ strange psyches, becoming overly obsessed with bizarre minutiae–in Loew’s case the finding of a file that contains one of their author’s past contracts.

Moreover, what Vampire’s Kiss and American Psycho share in common more than anything is a cartoonish nature, though American Psycho‘s parody of 80s life was probably more intentional. Case in point of this over the top style is at the end of Vampire’s Kiss when Loew confesses to his therapist that he raped his secretary last week and she responds, “It was just your id lashing out.” At the end of each tale, you’re left wondering what was real and what was imagined in the mind of these two delusional men, both products of a decade that may have seen New York City at its most dystopian.

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