• Kelly M. Hudson

Vamping it Up!

Marie (Anne Parillaud) is a French vampire always on the prowl for more meat. She is conscientious about her job, seeking victims that deserve death. Her selectiveness causes long periods of starvation, however, because she is so cautious and careful. Her quest for new blood brings her to Pittsburgh, where she discovers a ruthless mafia war led by Sallie (the Shark) Macelli (Robert Loggia), a loathsome, hateful man surrounded by a crew of loathsome, hateful men. She decides to target Macelli and his crew, inadvertently stumbling into a sting operation by local cop Joe (Anthony LaPaglia), a man she finds herself irresistibly attracted to. She puts the bite on Macelli but gets interrupted before she can finish him off, thus ensuring he does not come back as one of the undead. Now there’s trouble, because Macelli is a vampire and he’s turning his whole crew, making Pittsburgh highly unsafe for human beings. Marie teams with Joe to take down the nosferatu mob, bloodsucker-style!

This is a movie I saw when it came out in the early 90s, excited to finally get another horror/comedy from director John Landis. I remember leaving rather disappointed because it did not measure up to American Werewolf in London (but to be fair, what really does?). I was captivated by Parillaud because, um, she’s gorgeous and naked quite a bit, and I enjoyed the fangtastic attacks and gore. But LaPaglia was a stiff to me and Loggia, while being a good villain, chewed too much scenery. The movie fell flat when all the pieces were there for it to soar. On rewatch, I have to take some of that back. The gore is great, Parillaud is still as amazing (although her acting is more than a bit, er, stiff at times—might be her struggling with the English because she’s terrific in La Femme Nikita), LaPaglia wasn’t as dull as I remembered, and Loggia was much more fun than before. Also in its favor, the supporting cast is peppered with future “stars” that went on to become players in The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy. So that was fun, playing “spot the surprise actor.” The story itself is pretty straightforward, the action is good, the blood is plentiful, and the movie moves along at a decent pace (I remember it dragging in parts, but on replay it doesn’t). It’s still probably ten minutes too long and still doesn’t quite connect with me, but it’s good little film.

If you’re looking for an offbeat vampire movie that’s a bit different than the usual run of the mill vamp flick, Innocent Blood will fill that spot for you. It’s fun and there’s blood and there’s the naked wondrousness of Parillaud, and you got mobsters spouting their made-man gibberish, and did I mention blood? So yes, this one has aged well and although it isn’t a classic, it’s worth a watch or two.


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