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Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
|Directed by||John Landis|
|Written by||Michael Wolk|
|Music by||Ira Newborn|
|Edited by||Dale Beldin|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$4.9 million|
Innocent Blood (also known in some regions as A French Vampire in America) is a 1992 American crime comedy horror film directed by John Landis and written by Michael Wolk. The film stars Anne Parillaud as a beautiful French vampire who finds herself pitted against a gang of vicious mobsters led by Robert Loggia who eventually becomes a vampire himself.
The film is set and was filmed in and around the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. The "Little Italy" of Pittsburgh, a portion of the Bloomfield, Pittsburgh neighborhood, clustered around Liberty Avenue, is recognizable in many of the film's outdoor urban scenes. Actors Tony Sirico and David Proval have supporting parts as gangsters, foreshadowing their roles in The Sopranos. It also features early appearances by Anthony LaPaglia, Angela Bassett, and Chazz Palminteri. The film is notable for being a mixture of the vampire, gangster and buddy cop genres.
Marie (Anne Parillaud) is a very appealing modern-day vampire in Pittsburgh, with a moral code that limits her bloodsucking to the criminal elements of society. After feasting on mafioso Tony (Chazz Palminteri), she shoots him in the head with a shotgun to cover up the bite marks on his neck and to prevent him from coming back as a vampire. Undercover cop Joseph Gennaro (Anthony LaPaglia) visits the crime scene, but is taken off his assignment of infiltrating the crime family of Salvatore "Sal the Shark" Macelli (Robert Loggia) and put into protective custody by District Attorney Sinclair (Angela Bassett) for being witnessed at the crime scene by the media.
The next night, Marie seduces Salvatore, who takes her back to his mansion for "dinner". Marie is warded off when Salvatore serves garlic mussels, and she tries to escape through the bathroom window, but finds it barred up. Salvatore attempts to rape her, but Marie manages to overpower him and drain his blood. But before she can finish him off, Salvatore's limousine driver, Lenny (David Proval) intervenes and she is forced to flee. Gennaro investigates the scene and follows a trail of blood to a nearby church, where he finds and chases Marie. When Gennaro gets back to his car, Marie finds him and demands that he drive her to the morgue where Salvatore was taken. Meanwhile, Salvatore, now a vampire, awakens in the morgue and steals a car to drive to the home of his attorney, Manny Bergman (Don Rickles), being witnessed by police and reporters in his escape.
Outside the morgue, Gennaro leaves Marie with his colleagues Dave Finton (Leo Burmester) and Morales (Luis Guzman) and goes to Bergman's house to pursue Salvatore. Marie escapes from custody and follows him. At Bergman's home, Salvatore drinks Bergman's blood and Gennaro is captured by Lenny and Jacko (Tony Sirico). The three mobsters take Gennaro to the docks and attempt to kill him using the compactor of a garbage truck. Marie arrives, saves him and kills Salvatore's men, but Salvatore manages to escape. Gennaro and Marie attempt to pursue him, but the sun rises and Marie has to retreat into a motel. Salvatore hides in a meat factory that he owns. Bergman is transferred to a hospital but, after becoming a vampire, he is burned alive when a nurse opens the window and lets the sunlight in. In the motel, Gennaro and Marie confess their feelings for each other and have sex.
The next night, Salvatore travels to a strip club that he owns and begins turning his men into vampires like himself. Gennaro and Marie begin searching all known Mafia hangouts for Salvatore. Finton and Morales track him down to the strip club, but Salvatore's men kill Finton. Marie and Gennaro arrive in time to save Morales and kill Salvatore's men by shooting them in the head. They chase Salvatore out onto the street, where he causes a collision between a taxi and a bus. Gennaro kills him by igniting him with the leaking gas tank of the bus and then shooting him in the head. Marie can no longer handle being the monster she is, and attempts to commit suicide by the sunlight, stating that she "died a long time ago". Gennaro talks her out of it, telling her that he loves her. Gennaro books her into a nearby hotel, and Marie states in a voiceover that he "made [her] feel alive".
- Anne Parillaud as Marie
- Robert Loggia as Salvatore "Sal the Shark" Macelli
- Anthony LaPaglia as Detective Joseph Gennaro
- Don Rickles as Manny Bergman
- Elaine Kagan as Frannie Bergman
- David Proval as Lenny
- Rocco Sisto as Gilly
- Chazz Palminteri as Tony
- Kim Coates as Ray
- Marshall Bell as Detective Marsh
- Linnea Quigley as Nurse
- Tony Sirico as Jacko
- Tony Lip as Frank
- Luis Guzmán as Detective Morales
- Angela Bassett as U.S. Attorney Sinclair
- Leo Burmester as Detective Dave Finton
- Rohn Thomas as Coroner
- Frank Oz as Pathologist
- Tom Savini as News Photographer
- Sam Raimi as Roma Meats Man
- Dario Argento as Paramedic
- Yancey Arias as Coroner's assistant
- Ron Roth as Gus
- Vic Noto as Tommy
- Jerry Lyden as Vinnie
The film began as a script by Mick and Richard Christian Matheson called Red Sleep. John Landis had a deal at Warners to make it. He wrote it with Harry Shearer and "it was pretty wild," said Landis. "The premise was basically that Las Vegas is a city that is run by vampires."
They turned it into the studio, who did not like it. Then they offered another vampire script, Innocent Blood by Michael Wolk. Landis said "I really liked it. I was given tremendous freedom by the studio to make it, although it was rather low budget. It was very risky, which I think perhaps contributed to the fact that it didn’t do well."
Landis said preview audiences had trouble understanding her French accent but he refused to dub her.
Landis said he described the film as "a Hammer film as if it was directed by Scorsese.”
The film was shot in Pittsburg. Landis originally intended to set the film in New York and shoot most of it in Philadelphia for New York but when he saw Pittburgh he decided to film there.
Landis previewed the film, then made about 15-20 minutes of cuts based on the preview and handed in the cut. The MPAA wanted to give the film an NC-17 rating so two more minutes were cut out to get an R.
Innocent Blood opened on September 25, 1992 and grossed $1,857,658 in its opening weekend, earning the #7 spot at the box office. By the end of its run, the film had grossed merely $4,943,279 domestically.
DVD and Blu-ray
Several versions were released for home viewing, which were generally cut to some extent, censored for nudity and gore. The US (region 1) DVD release is the shortest, and is also in pan and scan 4:3 ratio, whereas the original film was widescreen. The most complete DVD version is the German release, entitled Bloody Marie: Eine Frau Mit Biss which is 28 seconds longer and in widescreen format. The widescreen version was eventually released on Blu-ray by Warner Archive Collection on September 19, 2017.
- "INNOCENT BLOOD (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 5, 1992. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- "Innocent Blood (1992)". Box Office Mojo. 1992-10-20. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
- ""Making a Hammer Film As If It Was Directed by Scorsese": John Landis on Innocent Blood and Operating Muppets with Tim Burton". Filmmkaer Magazine. 3 October 2017.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for September 25-27, 1992". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
- "Innocent Blood". Movie-Censorship.com. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "Innocent Blood (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 28, 2015.