Saturday, October 31, 2009

Innocent Blood (1992)

John Landis is really an underrated director, and it's sad that An American Werewolf in London is the only movie are talking about. Because Innocent Blood is one of his finest works so far, and it's sad it's so forgotten. Here we have an original (!!!) vampire-flick which look gorgeous and has a bunch of very fine actors, gory special effects and great make-up, not to mention a killer jazz-score by Ira Newborn and a couple of fitting Frank Sinatra-tracks! And what happen? It bombed. Totally. The distributors tried desperate to save some money by retitling it "A French Vampire in America", which is silly. Life isn't fair.

Anne Parillaud plays Marie, a kinda nice vampire-chick that only kills bad guys and drink their blood. One night she rips the throat of an italian gangster (Chazz Palminteri!) and get's involved in the New York-mafia. Robert Loggia plays Sallie The Shark and after biting him to, but never get's a chance to kill him, Marie finds that her bloodthirst is spreading a vampire-plague in the New York-mafia! Anthony LaPaglia plays an ex-undercover cop that forces to hunt her down, and get's to learn something more about vampires... and that they can be nice to. Meanwhile chews Sallie through his all staff, and there's not much time to stop the bloodsucking mafia!

First of all, Anne Parillaud isn't good in this movie. Well, sorry. She's good, but not as great as all her co-actors. But make no mistake, I love her as an actress, but I guess the language was a barrier here and there's places where she's not really there acting-wise. She's reading the lines very wrong most of the time. She works better when she's quiet. But expect that this is i wonderful movie with some of the most spectacular effects I've seen from the earlie ninties. The make-up effects by Steve Johnson is simply amazing, and I'm not sure how some of them where done. There's a scene when one of the characters are melting from the sun, and it looks stunning - it's up there with the transformation-scene in American Werewolf. There's some nice blood and gore to, so don't worry about that.

The best thing is the style. It's a luxery movie. Everything looks expensive, slick and stylish. It's one of John Landis finest hours as a director. Even the comdey works great, even from smaller cameos and and shorter scenes. After two thirds of the movie the pacing goes down for around ten minutes, including a quite graphic love scene. I alway get's a bit restless here, but it dosen't take long until it's back on track again. There's a lot of nice big band jazz on the soundtrack to, and it's always fun to hear Frank Sinatra in an horror movie!

One of Landis trademarks is cameos by other directors, and here we have Frank Oz, Dario Argento, Sam Raimi in fun performances, but also Tom Savini, Forrest J. Ackerman and Linnea Quigley! Another trademark (which seem to be quite common among actors around the same age as Landis) is a lot of clips on television from classic horror- and monsterfilms: Dracula, Strangers on a Train, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Phantom of the Rue Morgue and Hammer's 1958 Dracula.

Innocent Blood is still one of my favorite vampire-movies of all time. It's up there together with John Badhams Dracula, Romeros Martin and Tobe Hoopers Salem's Lot.

1 comment:

Jack J said...

I was in OZ when it came out and it was retitled A FRENCH VAMPIRE IN AMERICA. :D