Getting bitten by a vampire can really turn your life upside down, as Lili Taylor finds out in The Addiction. While Abel Ferrara obviously focuses on drug addiction (two scenes involve needles) yet the film’s strongest aspect is it channeling of different philosphy views. Taylor’s Kathleen Conklin is a philosphy student, after all, and so The Addiction also focuses on her using her beliefs and thoughts while dealing with the effects of becoming a vampire. All shot in stark black and white, a throwback to the old days of horror, a choice that gives the film an eeire, almost dreamlike quality. I wondered how much the slightly better, also great Only Lovers Left Alive was inspired by The Addiction. They would make for a radical double bill.
Especially since both focus mostly on the problems of being a vampire, while not being all that creepy or scary. Life does not stop when you are undead, as Kathleen and the others she infects find out. Also being addicted to blood, like any other drug, causes major problems. The scenes with Christopher Walken are interesting, since Walken is a vampire able to control his habbit, a functioning addict. He urges her to read Naked Lunch, and then I recall that I have yet to read my copy, and I should. I have luckily avoided drugs, although I do enjoy beer more often than I should.
At times The Addiction felt smarter than it actually is, so maybe it reflects philosphy students in that regard. I related more to Kathleen’s friend and fellow student Jean, played by a pre-The Sopranos Edie Falco, who worries about Kathleen all too late and fails to run for the hills when its really apparent something is wrong with her. Still this is a unique and fascinating take on the vampire curse, and I prefer it to some of the other vampire movies I have seen over the years. Plus it spotlights 1990s New York City, a city I am not sure I will ever get to visit. For now cinema gets me close enough.