John Landis (American Werewolf in London) directs a vampire gangster romance movie that features cameos from Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell), Dario Argento (Suspiria), Frank Oz (Yoda), Tom Savini (SFX master) and host of others.
A sexy modern French vampire (Anne Parillaud) living in Pittsburgh (really?) selectively feeds on the dregs of society. After finishing a meal she ensures her victims are dead by blasting their brains all over the place via shotgun. Her other interests involve: being nude, changing her eye color dramatically, and falling for undercover cops.
In an unfortunate turn of events, after dining on some Italian her meals survives and turns into a vampire. That meal happened to be Robert Loggia aka Sal ‘the Shark’ Macelli aka the head of the Pittsburgh mob. He decides to turn all his henchman into vampires. Anne realizes her mistake and teams up with an undercover cop (Anthony LaPaglia) to take down the mob vampire clan, falling in love along the way.
The cast of this movie is quite good. I was pleasantly surprised with both Chazz Palminteri and Don Rickles’ roles in the film. Rickles stood out as the crooked attorney for the mob. After being turned into a vampire he awakens in hospital bed. Sadly for Rickles, the nurse opens the curtains for rise and shine time. And boy does the sun shine!
Landis uses surgeon-like precision in mixing of horror and comedy in this film and of course in his much more famous movie, American Werewolf in London. During the seduction scene I giggled when the LaPaglia would only have sex with the Anne if she was wearing handcuffs, and then laughed out loud that only seconds into the love making she broke out of the cuffs with the ease of snapping a twig.
Another interesting note is that every television in the background has old horror movie clips playing. Nice little homage to the classics.
The biggest downfall was the end of the movie. The vampire gang was made of some of the stupidest people ever to grace film. No one would just stand there and wait to be shot in the head, but this happens time and time again. Even Sal ‘the Shark’ Macelli’s inevitable death is several agonizingly long seconds in the making. Disappointing end to a rather fantastic film.
Snore Factor: ZZZ