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Film Review: Bordello of Blood (1996)

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SYNOPSIS:

The cryptkeeper returns to tell the story of a funeral parlor that moonlights as a vampire bordello.

REVIEW:

Bordello of Blood stars Dennis Miller as Rafe Guttman; a private investigator hired to search for Caleb (Corey Feldman), the missing brother of Catherine (Erika Eleniak). And by hired, what I really mean is he needles and harasses Catherine into letting him take her case. Unbeknownst to Catherine and Rafe, Caleb was last seen at a bordello housed under a funeral home, where it’s ever so easy to get in, but much harder to get out. This is mainly down to the bordello’s owner, Lilith (Angie Everheart) a recently resurrected vampire who loves nothing more than chomping down on the unsuspecting patrons of her equally vampiric sex workers. Meanwhile Catherine works for JC Current (Chris Sarandon), a high profile evangelist who has a lackey in the form of Vincent (Phil Fondacaro), who – record scratch – also works for the bloodthirsty Lilith.

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Confused? You won’t be, after this week’s episode of… Tales from the Crypt colon Bordello of Blood.

I mentioned in my review of Demon Knight, the first part of the Tales from the Crypt trilogy, that puns are both hard and annoying. That’s probably why we’ve all evolved as human beings to simply tolerate them and at most enjoy them ironically. Gilbert Adler, who directed Bordello, and A. L. Katz, who co-wrote the script with him, clearly thought that irony was a big enough target to aim for. However they were way off the mark.

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After the admittedly shaky fun that is Demon Knight, some suit somewhere must have stroked their chin, puffed on a big cee-gar and cried, ‘We’s gotta get more Crypt movies out! Let’s half the budget and double the boob count.’ After the initial applause died down, he took a long triumphant puff of his cee-gar and stated, ‘Get me Dennis Miller.’

Bordello tries so hard to be fun and sexy that it fails to be neither. This is a cartoon of a movie, in which nobody’s lives are in real danger and everyone will be home by bedtime. It’s a parody where its lead characters drop constant meta-bombs in the hopes that you’re in the theatre slapping your friend next to you gleefully saying, ‘Did you hear that?! Dennis Miller said he feels like he’s in a bad Tales from the Crypt episode. They’re audaciously breaking the fourth wall with their irreverence.’

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And I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. I like kitsch and I’m always down for camp. But like Lilith when we first meet her corpse, there’s no heart in this film. The dialogue is genuinely painful. Particularly when it comes to Everheart who recites lines like she’s seeing them for the first time. However, not even Scarlett Johansson could save excruciable lines such as ‘I love a man who gives you head… and you get to keep it.’ These are puns so bad that Freddy Krueger would blush.

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Pacing issues plague the film as well. Take the opening of the film where 10 minutes elapse before we see the Crypt Keeper or are even told what the film is called. Instead we’re ‘treated’ to an Indiana Jones spoof that sees Fondacaro dressed up as the infamous archaeologist.

I’m not putting all the blame on the script and Everheart. She’s at least game. Miller, meanwhile, looks like he’s just wandered onto set, said ‘I’m filming this in the clothes I woke up in’ and cashed his check later that day. Lacking in charm so much, I genuinely began to root for everybody and anybody to take out his smug face. Feldman looks equally bored playing the rebellious Caleb. Even in his twenties, he was too gosh darn old to play someone who plays loud metal music and pierces himself. That he is only in the film for a short amount of time is perhaps the film’s few saving graces.

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It’s perhaps telling that the final part of the Tales from the Crypt trilogy, Ritual, did not grace our screens until 5 years later, where any opportunity to cash in on the show’s success had long since gone. Bordello of Blood should have had a stake put through its heart in the conception stage. Watch From Dusk Till Dawn if you really want to see nudey vampires.

Bonus Features

    • NEW Audio Commentary With Co-Writer & Producer A.L. Katz
    • NEW Tainted Blood: The Making Of Bordello Of Blood – Interivews With Actors Corey Feldman, Angie Everhart, Erika Eleniak, Co-Writer & Co-Producer A.L. Katz, Editor & Second Unit Director Stephen Lovejoy, And Special Effects Creator Todd Masters
    • Video Promo
    • Still Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer

Bordello of Blood is now available on bluray per Shout Factory

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