The Addiction is a 1995 American vampire film directed by Abel Ferrara, starring Annabella Sciorra, Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken. It was written by Ferrara's regular screenwriter, Nicholas St John, filmed in black-and-white and released simultaneously with Ferrara's period gangster film, The Funeral.
The film has been considered an allegory about drug addiction, as well as an allegory of the theological concept of sin. It contains philosophical, theological and other intellectual content, including references to Husserl, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, and Descartes. The film also features a vampire quoting theologian R. C. Sproul, who is a critic of Roman Catholicism.
Kathleen Conklin (Taylor), a young philosophy student at New York University, is attacked by a woman (Annabella Sciorra) called "Casanova", who tells Kathleen to "order me to go away" and, when Kathleen is unable to do so, bites her neck and drinks her blood. Kathleen develops several of the traditional symptoms of vampirism, including aversion to daylight and distaste for food. The film follows her degradation. It is hinted that vampires become immortal in this film but the price is an addiction to blood. Vampires are shown blaming their victims for not being strong enough to resist them. As Kathleen's friend, Jean (Edie Falco), now a victim, weeps incredulously, Kathleen coldly informs her: "My indifference is not the concern here, it's your astonishment that needs studying". Kathleen later meets Peina (Walken), a vampire who claims to have almost conquered his addiction and as a result is almost human. For a time he keeps her in his home trying to help her overcome hers, recommending she read William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch.
At her graduation party, Kathleen ominously announces, "I'd like to share a little bit of what I've learned". She, Casanova, Jean and some of Kathleen's other victims attack the family, friends, faculty and other attendees in a bloody, chaotic orgy. Afterwards, Kathleen, apparently overdosed from the bloody bacchanal and looking wracked with regret, wanders the streets. She ends up in a hospital and asks the nurse to let her die. The nurse says no one will let her die. Kathleen decides to commit suicide by asking the nurse to open the curtains.
Kathleen is confronted by Casanova, who stops her suicide attempt and quotes Sproul to her. Kathleen gives in to her new fate and in the final scene, she is shown walking away from a grave with her name on it, in broad daylight. Her birth date on the tombstone is October 31, 1967 and the date of her death is November 1, 1994. The movie ends with Kathleen quoting the line: "self revelation is annihilation of self".
According to Abel Ferrara, the characters of Peina and Casanova were originally written as a female and male respectively. When Walken read the script, he thought Peina was a male character and wanted to play the role. As a result, Walken had his way on portraying Peina whereas Casanova was played by Sciorra.
The film was nominated for the Golden Bear award at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Blue Angel Award. Lili Taylor won the Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress. The film received Best Actress (Taylor), Best Film (Abel Ferrara) and Special Mention Award (Walken) at the Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema.
The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and won Critics Award in Mystfest and was also nominated for Best Film. The film received high praise from the critic Peter Bradshaw, who named it as one of his top ten favourite films in a 2002 Sight and Sound poll.