Innocent Blood

(A French Vampire in America, John Landis, USA, 1992)


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

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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