About Sex, But Not – ‘Innocent Blood’ (1992)

21 Dec

ON THE SURFACE – In Pittsburgh, a vampire struggles with her code of only feeding from the criminals of society.

SCRAPING THE BARREL – In Pittsburgh, a young woman with HIV struggles with relationships. As far back as horror goes, vampires and vampirism have always been associated with sexuality and sex. Innocent Blood directed by John Landis is no different, the theme of a young woman coming to terms with how to live with HIV running throughout the entire film. Right at the start of the film, our vamp Marie explains how her choosiness over food ‘cost me my lover’ (contracted HIV) and how without him there is no sex (he eventually died of AIDS). Marie is left on her own, choosing to only feed on criminals (sleep with other people who also have HIV/AIDS) and leave those who are innocent alone (ignore advances of those who are uninfected). She’s in denial over her position, refusing to live life as she should (see how she smashes car mirrors when she catches a glimpse of herself, is keen to wipe blood off of her the moment she’s fed, covers her face in make-up), the virus attacking her immune system making her ill (when she’s shot, she’s in pain). Enter Joseph Gennaro, the man who will eventually sweep her off her feet. Initially her vampirism scares him (he doesn’t understand the HIV virus, and lets face it, there is still some prejudice in society towards those who have HIV/AIDS) but he slowly learns to trust her and they fall in love. The best thing? They both believe in safe sex, note the condoms he pulls out in the motel room they share. By the end of the film, Marie and Gennaro are ready to give their relationship a go, free of uneducated stereotyping and full of understanding. Another cinematic example of just how useful handcuffs can be in the bedroom…

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