Graphic Horror: Bordello Of Blood
Tales From the Crypt: Bordello of Blood 1996
Even though I haven’t managed to catch as many horror movies this month as I would have liked to, since I am going through several seasons of the Tales From the Crypt television show I thought it was only fitting to finish out watching the final movie. Even though it’s actually the second movie that was released just a year after Demon Knight, it even features the return of a couple elements from Demon Knight including the key and William Sadler, though the latter returned covered in mummy wraps to talk with the Cryptkeeper. Out of the three movies, this one is definitely the most comedic as noted by fact that it stars Dennis Miller. It also has the most nudity of the three as there are several scenes that take place within the bordello even though they are all vampire women, they are often mostly naked vampire women. And even though I hadn’t seen this film probably since it first came out on home video/aired on cable I still remembered the final twist so that wasn’t a surprise.
The opening scene of this movie was a bit of a surprise. It doesn’t start out specifically with the Cryptkeeper, but instead it’s more of a cold open, setting up the vampire lore part of the movie right away with a touch of an Indiana Jones vibe to it. Phil Fondacaro plays the tomb raider when they find the desiccated corpse who we later find out to be Lilith, he then puts this heart back together and back in her body where we get the most impressive scene in the movie where she starts to become slightly less corpselike. Something that I had forgotten about with this movie is that after the cold open and the Cryptkeeper intro, it starts out with Corey Feldman playing a punk kid. Technically a young adult as he spends his time in a bar, but you get the idea. This gets to one of the first problems that Ritual also had, there are way too many openings before we get to the real heart of the movie. There’s Lilith’s intro, the Cryptkeeper’s intro, Feldman’s intro, before finally getting to Dennis Miller’s intro. And besides that, there’s also the weird side story involving the televangelist who is connected to the whole thing in way too many ways.
Aside from the typical vampire mythos, this movie does take a slightly different spin on it. Lilith creates only women vampires and feeds on only men, and when she feeds she doesn’t just drink their blood, but she literally eats their hearts. Aside from those changes, they also have the same typical weaknesses of sunlight, holy water, and crosses, and they can’t be seen in reflections or recordings. Though Lilith herself as the head vampire needs a little bit more than those to completely destroy her. Even though I haven’t seen it in ages, it does have a bit of a Dusk Till Dawn vibe to it, though this is much more tongue in cheek. There is also the matter of the key that for some reason holds control over Lilith in a way that they never really explain, nor do they explain how or why the televangelist is the one who is holding onto it aside from him mentioning that she is busy destroying the sinners.
Humor is what really drives this movie, there’s the dimwitted sheriff that’s too busy pointing out that Miller’s private detective license has expired to care about the dozens of missing persons reports in the town. There’s even a bit of meta humor when Miller realizes that they are dealing with vampires and not just a psycho killer and at one point he quips that “it feels like we’re in a Tales From the Crypt Episode”. The humor was hit or miss with me, it was also rather nostalgic to hear him refer to the supernatural nature of their situation as “Duchovnian” likely referring to the X-Files David Duchovny. There’s also something just a little silly when you get to see Dennis Miller: Vampire Hunter armed with a super soaker full of holy water. Also fun fact, this came out the same year as From Dusk Till Dawn which also had a scene where they attack vampires with a super soaker filled with holy water.
The biggest downfall of this movie is that there were too many characters that didn’t get enough development and too many subplots that weren’t given enough time. There were so many characters, and none of them worked as comic relief, nor did they really help further the plot for the most part. I never understood exactly what part the televangelist played. He wasn’t very funny, he controlled the key but it never made sense as to why he had it, and when he finally lost the key and turned against the vampires, he wasn’t much use. The one part that I did enjoy about the movie was the twist at the very end, even though as I mentioned it was one of the few things that I did actually remember from my first viewing of the movie way back when. There was one issue that I noticed, after Catherine was bitten, she showed up on the monitors at the televangelist’s recording stage, but if she had been turned into a vampire at that point, then she wouldn’t have a reflection or show up on recording devices. The argument could be made that she just hadn’t fully turned at that point, but there’s also the question of the typical lore that states when the head vampire is defeated, the others are defeated as well. Or if they aren’t full fledged vampires, they become cured. Either way, it’s a fun twist and also a nice epilogue with the Cryptkeeper and the mummy which I’d like to think is a callback to one of the television episodes, Cutting Cards from the second season. In the end, the movie was generally enjoyable, but there was nothing that stood out as being anything better than any episode of the television show. It’s not quite at the level of a cult movie to watch for its ridiculousness, but there are some fun moments to be had. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.