Blu-ray Review: The Addiction

STUDIO: Arrow/MVD | DIRECTOR: Abel Ferrara | CAST: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Paul Calderon, Edie Falco
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2018 | PRICE: Blu-ray $25.19
BONUSES: commentary, new documentary and interviews, vintage featurette, more
SPECS: R | 82 min. | Horror | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall 

Breaking through the wave of big-budget vampire films of the mid-1990s that included Interview with the Vampire, Vampire in Brooklyn and Bram Stoker’s Dracula were a pair of black-and-white, independent New York City-based efforts that proved to be more idiosyncratic, artistic and memorable than their Hollywood brethren. The first was Michael Almereyda’s 1994 bloodsuckers-as-dysfunctional-family flick Nadja, followed a year later by Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction, starring Lili Taylor (About Cherry) as a hairy-armpitted, Nietzsche-spouting NYU Philosophy doctorate candidate-turned-West Village vamp.

Indoctrinated into the world of vampirism when she’s assaulted in an alley by a shapely creature of the night (Annabella Sciorra, What Dreams May Come), Kathleen (Taylor) soon learns that the bite on her neck has turned her into a daylight-hating junkie with a craving for human blood. Utilizing philosophical justifications for her blood lust, she later meets a veteran vampire (Christopher Walken, Romance & Cigarettes) who’s been fasting for years and urges her to just “blend in.” This leads to a crisis of faith for Kathleen (pretty strange for a vampire!) and a nasty night to remember at a faculty-filled graduation party.

Leading the healthy complement of supplements is a commentary by Ferrara (moderated by biographer Brad Stevens) and a new 30-minute documentary featuring on-camera interviews with the filmmaker, Taylor, composer Joe Delia and Christopher Walken who, regarding his approach to acting, simply states, “I learn the lines; I don’t ever think about the psychology of anything.” For her part, Taylor has positive if unremarkable memories of making the film, while Ferrara (who reveals he became a heroin addict for 14 years after he made The Addiction), champions his on-going collaboration with cinematographer Ken Kelsch. Of vampire films, Ferrara grins, “The ones that really count are all in black-and-white.” (That said, The Addiction‘s black-and-white blood looks particularly shiny, syrupy and viscous.)

“The film is what the film is,” adds the director of Ms. 45, King of New York and Bad Lieutenant of one of his more restrained albeit deeply felt works . “You’re gonna dig and get it and buy it, or you’re not.”

Buy or Rent The Addiction

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.