A beautiful vampire can warm your blood or drain it, but it’s hard to say no if she’s as sexy as Marie, the protagonist of Innocent Blood, a 1992 movie by legendary director John Landis.
Instead of living in a dusty old castle in Transylvania, this young girl (at least in appearance, we don’t know her actual age) is insatiably hungry and magnetic, roaming the Pittsburgh streets searching for blood to quench her invincible thirst.
Heedless of her predatory nature, she feeds exclusively on individuals she deems worthy of an untimely end, especially criminals.
The story kicks off when Marie tries to feed on psychopathic mob boss Sal “The Shark” Macelli, a decision that quickly turns out as a fatal mistake.
Indeed she fails to kill him for good before the criminal mutates into a vampire, becoming an even more devastating scourge than he was in life.
Slaughterhouse’s innate perfidy, now accentuated by non-life, contaminates his crime family, turning them into an unstoppable horde of bloodthirsty undead.
Returning from his undercover work in this gang, the fearless cop Joe Gennaro must resume the job from scratch when all the evidence and testimony he has collected are nullified when the boss is declared dead.
Although fearful of this supernatural creature, the common intent to eliminate the scourge represented by Macelli and his men creates a momentary alliance between Marie and Joe.
Joe’s resolve and hidden kindness intrigue Marie, while him, feeling an attraction he initially tries to deny, eventually ends up in the arms of the irresistible vampire.
However, to save his new love, he must face a hard e seemingly impossible fight because violent bloodsucking mobsters are tearing the town apart to flush out the female vampire and kill her once and for all.
An orgy of horror quotes and cameos
Eleven years after An American Werewolf in London, John Landis returns to the limelight with the eternal struggle between the conflicting forces of good and evil.
Clad in the garb of a new genre, it is in the darkest corners that goodness reveals a feral streak, wielding sharp canines and craving the life nectar of men.
With his unquestioned mastery, Landis intoxicates viewers’ senses with a daring blend of comedy, horror, and romance with his unerring cinematic recipe.
Undoubtedly, this being a vampire tale, most of the scenes take place under the moon’s silvery light, when the night mantle descends on the landscape in a varied hue of red, blue, and green lights, recalling the unmistakable aesthetic of Italian horror master Mario Bava.
We begin among the skyscrapers, churches, and stores of Pittsburgh, to the mob-run clubs and strip clubs that characterize the second half of the story in the escalation of the plot.
In each interior, a television spits out images of horror classics, paying homage to iconic figures such as Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Max Schreck in their unforgettable Dracula roles, blending the past and present of film history into a single narrative thread.
Bill Taylor’s special effects manage to capture the attention with sprays of blood, both frightening and amusing, which will remind one of the future of the red gunshot explosions in Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained.
Within this sumptuous banquet of quotes and cameos, the participation of Tom Savini, the undisputed master of special effects and makeup, along with director Dario Argento author of such masterpieces as Deep Red or Suspiria, stands out.
Although Landis digested indifference and harsh criticism at the time of the film’s release, the time has revealed its true worth by transforming it into a beloved little cult.
The exciting beauty of biting cinema
Where her performance in Luc Besson‘s movie had revealed a winning combination of beauty and daring, here the actress bets even more on her talents, flaunting breathtaking beauty along with unbridled supernatural aggression.
She initially appears bathed in the golden glow of candles, displaying her completely nude figure, majestic and sublime, like an image from another era.
Not long before, the film dives into the horror genre, with a scene in which Parillaud empties the sympathetic villain, played by Chazz Palminteri, with blood.
Alongside the sexy French star, however, I would have preferred to see an actor with more comic inclinations as the cop instead of Anthony LaPaglia.
His presence only sometimes makes the most of the absurd situations Landis creates, perhaps missing an opportunity compared to the legendary performers in his comedies, such as John Belushi or Eddie Murphy.
But I don’t want to be too harsh because, still, LaPaglia is convincing both in the confrontation scenes against the mobsters, before and after their transformation into vampires, and in the more intimate settings with Parillaud.
Unquestionably dominating the scene with his almost demonic presence, we finally have an incredible Robert Loggia, a villain to be framed for his sheer evil and desire to do evil.
Already delusional and uncontrollable in his human condition, he becomes an apocalyptic force once he transforms into a vampire. Still, nevertheless, he remains true to his identity as an Italian mobster, expressing his hilarious discontent at no longer being able to season his meals with garlic, obviously toxic to vampires like him.