Back in the era of The Blues Brothers (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1981) and the music video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller", John Landis was considered by many as a distinctive and interesting director.
These days he casts around wildly for any High Concept that will click for him.
Innocent Blood is a generic mish-mash born of just this desperation: part undercover cop thriller, part gangster parody, part horror-comedy in the vein of Sam Raimi.
Then Landis pours over the top a thick goo of lurid design, Sinatra songs and clips from old, classic movies glimpsed on television sets.
Landis has the sensibility of a nerdy, naughty adolescent whose development was arrested sometime late in the '50s – but who has by now lost his acid humour and his pop zest.
There are some good things in this film – like the unearthly performance of Anne Parillaud (Nikita, 1990) as the vampire, and the prolonged, edgy sex scene between her and hero Anthony LaPaglia – but many of the jokes involving undead Italian mobsters munching on each other are flat and endless.
Beware, too, the strange voice-over narration possibly added surgically in post-production.
MORE Landis: Blues Brothers 2000
© Adrian Martin October 1993