May 19 2010

Movies I Saw In Theaters – Love at First Bite [Movies]


There are a lot of movies I saw in theaters when I was a kid that I wouldn’t take my kids to see now. One of them is the George Hamilton / Susan St. James non-classic ‘Love at First Bite.’

Love at First Bite‘ is a parody of Dracula movies. I saw it in theaters, despite being about 8 years old at the time. Either my mother or my father took me, I don’t remember. Probably my father, since he was more likely to take me to something like this.

I don’t remember much about ‘Love at First Bite’. Judging by the clip, it looks like there wasn’t anything in there that was overly questionable for a young man to see or hear. I think I heard an s-word. Ooo! They say “shit” in the animated ‘Transformers’ movie and ‘Short Circuit’, both movies that were intended for kid audiences.

So why wouldn’t I take my kids to see ‘Love at First Bite’?

For one thing, there are a lot more choices now. Tons of movies specifically meant for kids, and also all of the films and television shows that I love and now want to watch with my children.

Also, the way we consume media has changed. Going to a movie theater is no longer an easy way to spend a couple of hours with a child. Well, it’s still easy, but it costs a fickin’ fortune. In Manhattan, adult movie tickets are typically $12.50, kids are about $7.50. That’s too much.

If ‘Love at First Bite’ were made today, it would probably have a lot more sex and explicit language. This comment from YouTube is telling (and unlike most comments from YouTube, doesn’t call anyone gay):

Ah yes, I do SO miss the days when comedy could just be silly and funny and didn’t have to be “edgy”….thanks? for this blast from the past !

‘Edgy’ is rightly in quotes. The word is so overused that it doesn’t mean anything anymore.

That’s from ‘The Hangover’, which is rated R. ‘Love at First Bite‘ was rated PG. If they remade ‘Love at First Bite‘ today, I imagine they would go for an R. You know. To get the kids in.

To be clear, I’m not knocking ‘The Hangover’ or the current wave of R-rated comedies. I actually think it’s better for movies like that to get a R-rating, which is meant to tell parents that a movie isn’t appropriate for children under 17. That doesn’t stop parents from bringing kids to movies like ‘Kick-Ass’ of course, but that — stupid parents — is a different topic.

I also don’t think my kids would be damaged by seeing ‘Love at First Bite‘. I think I’m more uptight about what they see, although my butt enclenches when it comes to superhero movies. Both of my boys have seen ‘Iron Man’; the youngest hasn’t seen ‘Iron Man 2’ because I decided it was too much for him (he’s pretty young). A lot of that is because of the intensity of ‘Iron Man 2’. For much of the movie, Jon Favreau puts his foot on the gas and doesn’t let up for long stretches, which was a lot of fun to watch but could potentially freak out a little kid.

That’s something that older movies didn’t do as much. We watched ‘Star Wars’ recently, and I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of things. One was how well it holds up. (I did have to explain to my son that Han shot first, despite what George Lucas edited into the movie after the fact.) Another was how it manages to be fun and exciting without being INTENSE. Or, to borrow from a YouTube commenter, ‘edgy’.

In some ways, that lack of ‘edge’ makes ‘Star Wars’ more kid-friendly than a lot of what passes for kiddie fare these days. ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t insert overly intense music during key scenes or employ schlocky horror movie techniques intended to get the heart pumping. It just starts a good story.

‘Love at First Bite’ (although I admit I can’t remember a lot of it) does the same kind of thing. That’s probably one of the reasons I can’t remember it. It wasn’t traumatizing. Another movie, ‘The Twilight Zone’, I walked out of and will never forget. The girl with no mouth. Here’s the clip. I just watched it for the first time since 1983 when I saw it in theaters, and I really regret doing so. Um, here’s the clip. But be warned. It’s still really fucking scary.

That’s a horror movie, of course. But my point is that if a movie doesn’t have stuff like that in it, scenes that are intended to be frightening or ‘edgy’, odds are it won’t be something that your cause your kids to flip out.

(Shit. I can’t believe I watched that clip of the girl with no mouth from ‘The Twilight Zone’. I’m really not happy right now. Dammit.)

A better way to look at this could be that if I were a parent in 1979, I should be OK with taking my kid to see ‘Love at First Bite’ in theaters. But today’s equivalent of ‘Love at First Bite’, whatever that is, not so much.

Love at First Bite DVD image from