Screenplay: Michael Wolk
Release: Warner Archive
This may be sacrilege, but if Paul Thomas Anderson made a vampire-crime-comedy-horror film then it would be Innocent Blood.
This ghoul just wants to have fun! She also wants an occasional bad guy to sink her fangs into – because she never, ever takes Innocent Blood.
Anne Parillaud is Marie, a vampire who imperils Pittsburgh when she fails to kill off one of her victims, mob boss Sal Macelli (Robert Loggia). Sal realizes what a lucky stiff he is: a vampire with deadly powers! If Marie and her undercover cop boyfriend (Anthony LaPaglia) can’t stop the mobster’s new “family” of goons, Pittsburgh will be the pits. As in his An American Werewolf in London, director John Landis saw in Michael Wolk’s script many “possibilities to be outrageous” – and transforms them into outrageous screen reality.
Okay, terrible, pun-filled synopsis aside, Innocent Blood is a new Blu-ray upgrade from the Warner Archive. So, before watching this movie, solely based in its cover this has been a movie that has been on my to-watch list since I worked at the video store. I didn’t know a thing about the movie other than the title and that there was a pretty girl on the cover. For some reason I assumed it was a vampire movie, I had no idea who was in it and when I first started watching it, about a week ago, I could not get into it, it just looked bad.
I wanted to give it another shot, I put it in, hit play, and grabbed my phone to get a bit of background, that is when I saw that it was a John Landis picture. If you are unfamiliar with his work John Landis is the man behind The Blues Brothers, American Werewolf in London, Animal House, and Coming to America. The film stars Anne Parillaud who you should recognize as le femme Nikita, Anthony LaPaglia, from TVs Without a Trace, and Robert Loggia. You will also find Don Rickles, Angela Basset, Dario Argento, Sam Raimi, Frank Oz, Tom Savini, and Luis Guzman.
The film itself is a little corny, when I think about vampire movies I expect a romantic/horror/drama, gothic horror, whereas when I think about John Landis pictures my head goes to comedy. This film is a crime horror comedy and had I known that, going in, I would have probably reacted differently. Once I was able to get into it was pretty good.
One thought that kept dogging me through was that, and this may be sacrilege, but if Paul Thomas Anderson made a vampire-crime-comedy-horror film then it would be Innocent Blood. A lot of the imagery and snappy dialog reminded me of films like Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love, I suppose seeing Luis Guzman put me in that frame of mind. Obviously this was not a PTA movie but that was my headspace.
The film tanked at the box office and while it is surprising to see the Warner Archive re-releasing th film I am glad that they did. It isn’t the best, but the effects are great, the final scene with Loggia is something special. Can I give it a blanket recommendation? No. Innocent Blood has an audience, but I don’t think that I am it.
Director: 8 – Cinematography: 9 – Edit: 4 – Parity: 6 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 5 – Sound: 6 – Story: 8 – Script: 7 – Effects: 10 – Design: 8 – Costumes: 4 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 5