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Beware-Mindless Teenage Sex XVI now playing at area theatres, part2

Paperhouse links dreams and reality mainly for fun and games, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, once the audience realizes that the film is constructed around this dichotomy between dream and reality, one's initial interest begins to fade away. Director Bernard Rose can offer little more than an eerie atmosphere that doesn't do anything better than the decades-old masterpieces of German Expressionism. To keep the film going, Rose has to resort to banal horror movie routines. Hence, when Anna calls out in her dream world for her dad to rescue her from a threatening predicament, he turns out to be a sinister, silhouetted figure who threatens her with a large, gleaming axe instead.

It is because the film has a reality/dream dichotomy that one critic has dubbed the film as "Nightmare on Elm Street with brains." This is an entirely accurate description, but the film isn't nearly as satisfying as the quotation implies.

The film, which had its American premiere at the Boston Film Festival last September, is now playing at the Nickelodeon Theater.

[el1l]

VAMPIRE'S KISS About the only decent thing about this wretched attempt to make a comedy about vampires in Manhattan is the musical score by Briton Colin Towns, who last year energized Bellman and True with his subtly charged score. Needless to say, Towns' score can't save Vampire's Kiss all by itself. The film is not funny and becomes patently offensive at the end.

Nicolas Cage plays Peter Lowe, an advertising executive in New York City, who gets smitten and bitten by Rachel (Jennifer Beals), a sultry vampire who's into leather and pain. At work, Lowe terrorizes a newly-hired secretary named Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso), who has trouble finding a contract in the company files dating back to 1963. Lowe also sees a psychiatrist to help his romantic problems.

The first half of the film tries to be humorous but fails. The second half tries to be decidedly psychotic -- and succeeds. Lowe decides he's not bullying Alva enough, so he rapes her. This is supposed to be funny? Alonso's performance as Lowe's victim is particularly touching in this scene, and it's the only piece of real acting in the film. It highlights just how poor the rest of the film is. There's no accounting for taste, but one thing is for certain: this film has no redeeming features whatsoever.

This review first appeared in these pages last September when the film played in the Boston Film Festival. The film is now playing at the Copley Place Cinema.