‘Once Bitten’: Racist, Homophobic, AND Corny AF (review)

Mark (Jim Carrey) is a typical teenage boy who is currently dissatisfied by his long-time girlfriend Robin’s (Karen Kopin) refusal to have sex. While trolling for some strange with his buddies, he meets the mysterious Countess (Lauren Hutton). Unfortunately, Countess is a vampire who needs his virgin blood three times before Halloween or she loses her youth. She seduces Mark and bites him, starting the process of turning him into a vampire. Thus, Mark soon begins to exhibit strange behavior like sleeping in a trunk and eating raw meat. Robin refuses to give up on Mark and with his friends sets out to free him from Countess’s spell.

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The second-most glorious sideboob of 1985

I first saw this film at age twelve, when I had a massive crush on Jim Carrey. I haven’t seen it in almost twenty years. One thing that struck me was how selfish Mark is. After his girlfriend declines having sex with him in an ice cream truck, he decides he’s entitled to go catting around with his single friends and pick up a woman. He justifies his actions with the statement, “I was drunk […] I’m a teenager, I’m supposed to make stupid mistakes.” Robin goes back to him, blaming herself for his sexual frustration. Later, when Countess stalks him, Mark tries to hide her. He even blasts ice cream truck music in the wee hours of the morning after he thinks he and the Countess had sex and is triumphant. The whole thing leaves me wondering what the appeal is to Robin. The only time I enjoy her goodie-two-shoes wishy-washy ass is when she yells at Mark, “I can’t believe you’re willing to throw away our relationship on a one-night stand with a chauffeur and a butler and a slut who eats buttons!”

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Other grating aspects of the film include the dance-off between Robin and Countess, who fight over Mark choreographically (see below). Then there’s Sebastian, Countess’s Black butler/chauffeur (Cleavon Little). He’s in a cringe-worthy subservient position through the whole film. Not to mention the dream sequence when Mark eats dinner with Countess while Sebastian skates by playing an accordion, and yet another Black servant shows up. Also, Sebastian is gay. While his character is less offensive than some ‘80s depictions of gay guys, he does have a nasty habit of hiding in Countess’s closet and stealing her clothes. Also really offensive are Mark’s two obnoxious sex-crazed pals, who after an incident in the school shower (while looking for a vampire bite on Mark’s penis) are horrified to be called “fags.” Later one of them obsesses over the incident, in the process using the phrases “homos” and “rump rangers.”

Upon my recent viewing, I enjoyed the film a lot less than when I was an odd tween. Back then I didn’t bother with questions like: since Countess and her minions are vulnerable to fire, why is her entire house covered with lit candles and torches? She has electricity! But if you’re in the mood for a super-‘80s (complete with a montage of wacky L.A. street people) vampire comedy, or are just interested in seeing a young Jim Carrey, give this one a look.

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Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

One thought on “‘Once Bitten’: Racist, Homophobic, AND Corny AF (review)

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