It’s often completely ignored or dismissed in the annals of Jim Carrey’s film career, but “Once Bitten” is one of my favorite of the Carrey comedy works. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s one of Carrey’s most restrained roles, where he’s funny without being over the top or rubbery as he was in his more successful films. “Once Bitten” is that eighties guilty pleasure I go back to again and again for a good chuckle. And to ponder the idea of being seduced by a vampiric Lauren Hutton. Either way, it’s all good.
Hutton is vivacious as the Countess, an ancient vampiress who is accompanied by her loyal man servant Sebastian (Cleavon Little). Every four hundred years before Halloween, the Countess has to feed on virgin blood three times, or else she loses her youthful appearance. Sadly, what with the eighties being an age of hedonism and decadence, it’s becoming tougher than ever for her. Enter Mark Kendall, as played by Carrey, who is a local high schooler anxious to lose his virginity. It’s one of the bigger goals for a young man of that age to lose his virginity, and Mark constantly tries to seal the deal with girlfriend Robin.
After fighting with her, Mark’s friends take him out for a night on the town to find his first, and Mark eventually comes across the Countess at a cheesy singles club. The countess finds Mark appealing and very appetizing and goes through every possible length to seduce him. She’s able to drink from him twice, but the third time is very difficult since Robin and Mark’s friends begin to snap in to action when they suspect The Countess is a vampire. Carrey really doesn’t find his niche with over the top physical humor until much later in his career, but there are definite hints with the role and his willingness to perform physical stunts in some moments.
There’s also a really cheesy dance sequence where Carrey seems to have fun knocking himself over and playing a rag doll between the Countess and his girlfriend Robin. Hutton and Little are also very funny as the scheming vampire couple on the hunt for virgins, you just figure eventually she’d realize moving to a more conservative area would grant her a better chance at virgins. That said, “Once Bitten” is a fun and silly horror comedy with the musk of cheese dripping all over it. It’s a breezy good time with strong performances all around, and I enjoy it.