Thursday, October 22, 2015

In short: Bordello of Blood (1996)

Caleb (Corey Feldman) the rebellious (if you’re really really old) brother of TV preacher’s assistant Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak) disappears without a trace after a fight about his horrible lifestyle (consisting of the loud playing of the Devil’s music itself and wearing poser-metalhead clothing). Little does Katherine expect he’s found a sticky end at the claws and teeth of chief vampire Lilith (Angie Everhart) while visiting her secret bordello situated below a funeral parlour. Even less does she expect Lilith is actually (via some magic gizmo) forced to work for her own boss, one Reverend Current (Chris Sarandon), who uses the ancient yet rather style-less evil to murder people whose morals he doesn’t approve of.

Katherine will find out in the end, though, thanks to the help of sleazy yet boring private dick Rafe Guttman (Dennis Miller), and because this would be a rather short movie if she didn’t.

On the other hand, I’d have rather liked if Gilbert Adler’s movie spin-off of Tales from the Crypt (the TV show, not the comic, so it’s the spin-off of a spin-off) had been much shorter. Say about ten minutes or so of total running time? Because, even if you lower your standards for this one as deeply as seems appropriate for the low brow horror comedy this is supposed to be, Bordello of Blood is the living (undead?) embodiment of the word “lame”. There are lame jokes, lame one-liners, really lame acting (Angie Everhart certainly can’t deliver a line to save her life, and it’s not as if Miller or Eleniak fare any better, which becomes a problem when a film spends most of its time on them), lamer dialogue, lame direction, even lame nudity (and that in a film called Bordello of Blood). In short, what should be a dumb yet fun ride turns out to be torturous sequence of scenes that neither work nor are funny, with about one and a half good ideas (I kinda liked the cross-drawing laser gun), and what I find terribly difficult not to read as heavily misogynist subtext (particularly in a film doing so little to distract me from it).

Some of the general lameness of proceedings is easily explained by the Rule of Camp, which clearly states that everything consciously made to be campy will always turn out to be crap (see the second half of John Waters’s career, or Ken Russell on his bad days), a series of knowing winks only ever meant to demonstrate the superiority of a filmmaker over his or her material, always resulting in me not caring a lick about the results.

But hey, the special effects aren’t too bad.

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