Love at First Bite (1979) / Comedy-Horror
MPAA Rated: PG for innuendo and language
Running time: 94 min.
Cast: George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin, Arte Johnson, Dick Shawn, Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford
Director: Stan Dragoti
Screenplay: Robert Kaufman
Review published February 11, 1998
Love at First Bite starts off its rather threadbare story with Dracula (Hamilton, Hollywood Ending) in his home in Transylvania, where he is about to be evicted by the local farmers in traditional torch-and-pitchfork fashion. He and his assistant, Mr. Renfield (Johnson, Cannonball Run II), travel to New York, where he searches for the woman that he loves re-incarnated in a leading New York fashion model, Cindy (Susan Saint James, Carbon Copy) However, Cindy is already seeing her shrink (Benjamin, Westworld) on a dating basis, and he doesn't take kindly to competition, especially if it's a vampire out to possess her body.
Love at First Bite is fairly dated by today's standards, and I would guess most people who laugh at it today will do so because of that fact. The funny aspects kick off just from the casting alone, with the irony of George Hamilton, the tannest man in Hollywood today, starring as Count Dracula, a vampire who will die if he should sunlight touch his skin. Being 1979 and all, at the height of the disco era, so we are treated to such rarities as Dracula disco dancing and hobnobbing among folk in the drug and hedonism culture. Everything is played for laughs, with Hamilton's take on the famous bloodsucker being one of the hopeless romantic.
Unless you're a sucker for hammy acting and goofy situations, Love at First Bite just isn't witty enough to hold much interest, and as silly as some of the antics are, they just can't evoke much in the way of genuine laughter. Very mildly recommended if you're a hardcore vampire nut or you just want a light, innocuous diversion.
©1998 Vince Leo