Once Bitten is a 1985 American teen horror comedy film, starring Lauren Hutton, Jim Carrey, and Karen Kopins. With Carrey playing his first major lead role.
Being 400 years old, the Countess has collected a stable of young men and women. Who accompany her on her centuries-old journey through eternal life and youth. Though she is immortal, she is required to drink the blood of a young male virgin three times by Halloween each year to keep her immortality and youthful appearance. She finds this task increasingly and extremely hard, since attractive young male virgins are almost impossible to find in the 1980s. Particularly in hedonistic cities, in this case, Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, virgin high school student Mark Kendall wants to have sex. But is being put off by his girlfriend Robin Pierce. One night, Mark and his best friends Jamie and Russ go into a singles bar in Hollywood. Mark meets the Countess, goes back to her mansion and after she seduces him, passes out when she bites his thigh. When he wakes up, she pretends they have had sex and tells him that he is now hers. Mark does not know what she means and, over the next few days, begins showing strange behaviors. Having strange dreams, avoiding direct sunlight, and even drinking blood (from raw meat).
Is Mark doomed to become the Countess’ immortal slave or can he fight his way back to his girlfriend, Robin? Watch and find out.
Once Bitten is another 80s movie where you have to excuse it’s outdated plot and just move on. No, no one should be pressured into having sex or losing their virginity, but it happens and is a big part of being a teenager. Especially, in the macho 1980s. Some of the jokes are old fashioned and that’s because this film is 38 years old this year (!!). Once Bitten means well regardless and should be viewed through the lens of light-hearted fun.
Jim Carrey plays Mark very straight and it’s the least outlandish I’ve probably ever seen him. Considering where we know this fresh faced 23 year old goes, it’s pretty wild to see. Who knew he could dance though!
Everyone plays their part well enough, with the Countess oozing sexuality in every scene.
Although listed as a horror comedy, I would say it lacks in both areas. Sure there are some amusing moments, but the potential for laughs are too great and simply aren’t capitalized on at all. A lot of good scenarios are missed. There’s no particular horror to speak off. It’s about as scary as any John Hughes movie.
The vampire was about to explode again in cinema and you would think this situation would be ripe for some sexy, gory scenes. But alas, it’s a goofy movie where no one at all gets hurt and the audience goes home with a smile.
Overall, Once Bitten is absolutely dripping in the 80s. More of a teen comedy than a horror, there’s some enjoyment to be had but the missed opportunities sting. I would describe it as a reverse Fright Night for teens, with less gore and more dance offs.
The Final Score - 6/10