Picks and Pans Review: The Kiss

updated 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Again with a lady vampire. This time Joanna (Gorky Park) Pacula sprouts the fangs. A mysterious inherited spell has helped make Pacula a top cover girl. Now she's visiting her 15-year-old niece (Meredith Salenger) to pass on the evil powers with—yes, you're right—a kiss. But Salenger resists her glam auntie's smooches. She suspects Pacula has something to do with her mother's death by mutilation, her girl chum's mangling by an escalator and her boyfriend's metamorphosis into a road pizza after a confrontation with a speeding truck. First-time feature director Pen Densham renders each mishap with graphic glee. Mimi Kuzyk, from TV's Hill Street Blues, provides welcome comic relief as a neighbor who teaches Salenger about glow-in-the-dark condoms, Marlene Dietrich movies and how to electrocute a demon cat. But the grotesque soon drowns out the giggles, making The Kiss easy to kiss off. (R)

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