Innocent Blood (1992) Blu-ray Review: A Parisian Vampire in Pittsburgh

The Warner Archive Collection unveils a gorgeous new uncut transfer of John Landis' star-studded horror/action/comedy.
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Where An American Werewolf in London and From Dusk Till Dawn points on a map, John Landis' 1992 vampire horror/action/comedy Innocent Blood would probably be somewhere in-between in terms of its ability to both shock and delight. Set in the magical land of Pittsburgh, the film finds La Femme Nikita beauty Anne Parillaud as Marie, a less-stereotypical (and frequently nude) vampire with a heart. Deeming it an immortal sin to feast upon the innocent, Marie prefers to sink her fangs into the worst society has to offer. Namely, those of the criminal underworld. (Whereas today, she'd likely be draining swamps.)

There is a catch to her modus operandi, however. If she doesn't properly dispose of her victims in a timely enough manner, they too will become bloodsuckers.

When Marie is interrupted as she kills sleazy mob boss Salvatore "The Shark" Macelli (Robert Loggia, who looks like he's having the time of his life), Macelli himself returns from the dead, baffling everyone with eyes in the process. As Macelli comes to grips with his newfangled freedom from the world of mortality and the conventional rules that hold it together, Marie goes Forever Knight in a desperate attempt to track him down before he turns everyone in his entire organization into vampires! Teaming up with a disgraced undercover cop (Anthony LaPaglia) who is on the mobsteratu's hit list for infiltrating his outfit, the pair form an uneasy (and half undead) alliance.

With plenty of early '90s action, gore, and biting satire, Innocent Blood flows freely thanks to Michael Wolk's script and the tender loving care only Landis could apply to a horror movie. In true Landis style, the film is interjected throughout the film are clips from classic thrillers (including Dracula, Horror of Dracula, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Strangers on a Train, and Phantom of the Rue Morgue), which almost become part of the main feature itself. (And I must say, it's darn cool to see a universe where everyone ‒ including gangsters ‒ like to watch old horror movies on the television set every night.)

But what really sets Innocent Blood apart from its contemporaries is its truly stellar supporting cast of co-stars and cameos.

Playing in Loggia's league are legendary film and TV goons Chazz Palminteri, David Proval, Rocco Sisto, Tony Sirico, Tony Lip, Kim Coates, and the one and only Don Rickles, who plays Loggia's lawyer (and believe me, you haven't lived until you've seen Don Rickles as a vampire). On the side of law are Angela Bassett (three years away from co-starring in Wes Craven's anemic Vampire in Brooklyn), Luis Guzmán, and Leo Burmester. Popping up in the memorable cameo department is the truly mind-blowing assortment of Frank Oz, Tom Savini, Forrest J. Ackerman, Sam Raimi, '80s scream queen Linnea Quigley, '90s porn queen Teri Weigel, and even Italian horror auteur Dario Argento.

Seriously, you couldn't get that good of a cast in a vampire movie today even if you tried.

Originally released to American theaters sans several minutes of footage (including nudity and gore), Innocent Blood had only ever seen an awful open matte transfer culled from a video source before this. Thankfully, both of those issues have been corrected for this spectacular new Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, which presents the film in an uncut form with a beautiful 1080p MPEG-4 AVC widescreen presentation. Mastered from a new 2K scan of an interpositive (with the additional footage stemming from a European master), this beauty from the WAC is worth spilling some Blood for, as is the 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack.

English (SDH) subtitles are included with this BD release, and the only extra to be found for this Warner Archive offering is the film's original theatrical trailer. But it's still one more item than the old SD-DVD had, so there are no complaints here. Not that there would have been anyway, mind you, as Innocent Blood is the very sort of flick you can sink your teeth into and enjoy to the fullest.

Highly Recommended.

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