Saturday, December 27, 2014

Movie #290: Innocent Blood

Innocent Blood is a horror/crime/comedy, and with that lineup of genres, it shouldn't be any surprise to learn it's a John Landis film. It stars Anthony Lapaglia, Anne Parillaud, Robert Loggia, David Proval, Chazz Palminteri, Don Rickles, and a whole bunch of horror movie directors in cameos.

Marie (Parillaud) is a vampire who feeds on criminals; it's her little attempt to stay on the right side of moral. One night she takes out Tony (Palminteri), soldata in the Macelli crime family, run by the vicious Sal "The Shark" Macelli (Loggia). He also happened to be a buddy of Joey Gennaro (Lapaglia), a cop infiltrating said crime family. Marie feeds on Sal himself the next night, but he proves a little too much for her, and she is forced to flee before "finishing the food" by taking his head off with a shotgun. He rises as a vampire, and wacky hijinx ensue as he tries to turn the rest of his crew as Marie and Joey race to take them out (taking some time to bang in a hotel, because it ain't like you can vampire-hunt during the day if you're a vampire).

The vampires here are fragile as hell. Sure, they're strong and fast, but one bullet to the head finishes them off (some mumbo-jumbo about the central nervous system), and they feed rather messily. No gentle bites to the next; these fuckers rip you open and smear blood everywhere, all with eyes glowing various colors.

Gennaro and Marie manage to track down Macelli and finish him off - one shot to the head after he monologues a bit. Not entirely unlike An American Werewolf in London, which has a similarly anticlimactic ending, this movie alternates between gore (not really horror) and slapstick.

Loggia looks like he's having fun as the ruthless-mob-boss-turned-vampire, and Parillaud is nicely tortured as a vampire just trying to get by (in Pittsburgh; filmed on location). I enjoy Anthoy Lapaglia anyway, and this is one of his few starring roles. I have to wonder if the movie wouldn't be improved by taking a longer view; Macelli is obviously able to act decisively and patiently, so watching him start to build up an empire of vampires (a vempire?) might have been more interesting than the frantic chase with a kind of tepid action sequence, but it's also possible I've played too much Vampire: The Masquerade over the years.

As with many Landis movies, the cameos are fun; Dario Argento, Sam Raimi, Frank Oz, and Tom Savini all stop by, and Don Rickles plays the crooked mob lawyer turned (briefly) into a vampire to fry in the sun.

All in all, it's very watchable, if not amazing.

My Grade: B
Rewatch value: Medium-High

Next up: Interview with the Vampire