Plot: Marie (Ann Parillaud) is a beautiful woman with a dark side, as she is a vampire with a strong lust for fresh blood. But she tries to keep her feeding habits as moral as she can, opting to feast on the blood of bad people, not just sinking her teeth into whoever happens to be at hand. This approach works well until she makes a crucial mistake and fails to finish off her latest victim, crime kingpin Sal Macelli (Robert Loggia). He is taken to the morgue, but rises back to life on the slab and not only is he back, but he has all the powers of a vampire. Sal sees a golden opportunity and begins to turn his minions into vampires as well, with the goal of having an unstoppable force at his disposal, making him the head of an invincible crime syndicate. Of course, Marie can’t allow this to happen, so she heads out to finish what she started, with some help from an undercover cop named Joe (Anthony LaPaglia). But can anyone stop Sal’s crew now he has turned so many into vicious creatures of the night?
Entertainment Value: This review covers the international version of Innocent Blood, which restores some precious sex and violence that were removed to avoid the sting of an NC-17 label. Innocent Blood is a fun one, a well funded, camp soaked tale of vampires and mobsters. John Landis was in the director’s chair and he was given a cast that almost defies logic, packed with impressive names. This is a deep, skilled cast that makes the most of a hammy script, with even minor roles often populated by recognizable faces. I love that Don Rickles is here and his face burns off no less, not to mention Robert Loggia chewing up scenes like he hasn’t eaten in weeks. If you’re a mobster movie fan, you’ll see a lot of the usual suspects, while some quirky choices also pop in, such as Frank Oz, Sam Raimi, Forrest J. Ackerman, and even Tom Savini. Even Linnea Quigley has a scene, so this is a robust, colorful ensemble. I know some don’t like the sometimes over the top, campy texture of the movie, but I think it works well and for me, the movie is a blast from start to finish. The pace is dead on, the visual effects are terrific, and the cast is a lot of fun to watch. I think Innocent Blood is better than a “guilty pleasure” tag, so anyone with an interest in horror, dark comedies, or deep ensemble casts should give this one a look.
Anne Parillaud is naked in this one and naked often, but I doubt anyone will complain, since she looks damn good. She has several nude scenes and isn’t shy in the least, even providing full frontal for her fans to appreciate. The sex scene with LaPaglia offers up some interesting visuals as well, while a strip club showcases even more topless girls, so some solid nakedness in this one. No shortage of bloodshed either, thanks to some fun, well crafted practical effects. This includes some savage neck wounds, flayed bodies at the morgue, tearing flesh, Don Rickles burning into pieces in vivid detail, a number of gun shots, and a pretty awesome full body burn that lasts through an entire monologue. I also think the makeup effects on the vampires look quite cool, with a lot of detail and small touches that really stand out. Now the eye effects…not so great. The dialogue is passable, but the entertainment value is punched up by the cast. Loggia is a madman in his performance, going full over the top in the role and making even mundane lines seem memorable. So not a ton of quotable level lines, but the offbeat performances help raise the fun factor of the dialogue. The dark, but hilarious tone feels a little crazy, not to mention the rampant violence and sex. I mean, seeing Don Rickles’ face ignite then burn off his skull is pretty wacky, I think. So not a full on, off the rails experience, but it has some decent craziness.
Overall Insanity: 4/10