Do you remember that John Landis werewolf movie from the 80s? Yeah? Most people do and consider it the seminal film in the subgenre. Did you know he made a vampire/gangster movie in the 90s? Yeah, you wouldn’t be alone if you said you didn’t remember Innocent Blood, Landis’s other horror film.
The 90s were hard on John Landis, for obvious reasons, but not the least which was he decided to make a comedy starring Sylvester Stallone. We’ve already covered that movie, so perhaps combining the crime movie with a horror comedy (though Innocent Blood is made a comedy only by Landis’s touches. Something tells me this wasn’t written this way.) was Landis keeping to form. Here, we have the lovely Marie, played by French actress Anne Parillaud, a vampire with a conscience who decides to use a city-wide gang war as a cover for nocturnal feeding habits. Getting in the way is Joe, played by Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia,(You heard me…AUSTRALIAN!) an undercover cop with a heart of gold. Directly in her sites is mob boss Sal “The Shark” Macelli, acted to over-the-top, scenery chewing perfection by Robert Loggia, who commits to this bizarre premise wholeheartedly and sells the movie with his charismatic performance. Chazz Palminteri, Kim Coates, Angela Bassett, Tony Sirico, David Proval, and a host of other actors you’ve seen on The Sopranos round out a very competent cast. Don Rickles, here, plays against type by playing a mob lawyer. No shit. A likeable mob lawyer who has one of the most memorable scenes in any movie, ever. No one blends comedy and horror like John Landis, who has the formula down, and when you’re about to roll your eyes and turn the channel, someone does something funny or interesting enough to keep your attention.
This movie shouldn’t work, but everything is just charming enough, just gory enough, just funny enough to keep you tuned in, and that’s no mean feat, anymore. John Landis knows how to make an entertaining movie. He doesn’t top most of the other fantastic movies he’s made with Innocent Blood, but he does make an decent enough addition to his resume.