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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 248: Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood

Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood
Oh, 1996

The 1990's were a simpler time. The economy was going strong, Bill Clinton was president, people still used America Online, and people were generally happier. It was also the prime time for the Tales From The Crypt television series on HBO. Based on the 1950's EC Comics horror series, Tales From The Crypt used a mixture of horror and humor to create an entertaining horror anthology. By being on HBO, TFTC had the freedom from basic television censorship. This allowed the series to have more adult content, more violence, and more nudity. Thanks to the success of the show, Tales From The Crypt came out with a trilogy of movies. I've already reviewed Demon Knight and Ritual, so it's time to complete the trilogy with a horror movie starring...Dennis Miller. Damn you, 90's!

Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood is a 1996 horror comedy movie starring Dennis Miller (Joe Dirt, The Dennis Miller Show) as Rafe Guttman. The movie begins with a man named Vincent (Phil Fondacaro, Evil Bong, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) exploring a forest in South America. Joined by a few locals, Vincent enters a cave, believing the treasure he seeks is inside. The group discovers a coffin containing the skeleton of Lilith (Angie Everhart, Last Action Hero, Denial). Vincent places her still-beating heart back inside the skeleton, bringing Lilith back to life. The revived Lilith kills the locals, but Vincent reveals he is carrying the Key from Demon Knight, which contains the blood of Jesus inside. The key causes prevents Lilith from hurting Vincent and the two team up and make their way to the United States. We are then introduced to church worker Katherine (Erika Eleniak, Under Siege, The Beverly Hillbillies) who tries to prevent her delinquent brother Caleb (Corey Feldman, The Lost Boys, Stand By Me) from going out and getting into trouble. He ignores her and goes to a bar with his friends, meeting a strange biker who tells them of a brothel in town. Caleb and one of his friends travel to the address, which turns out to be a funeral home. They are placed in a coffin which goes down into the secret brothel. To their horror, the prostitutes are vampires being led by Lilith. When Caleb disappears, Katherine tries to get the police to search for him, but they are no help. Private detective Rafe Guttman overhears Katherine and offers his services to help her. After picking up some leads, Rafe sneaks into the bordello and discovers that the money raised there is given to the church where Katherine works. He returns the next night and meets with one of the prostitutes who is horrified when she sees Rafe's cross. He escapes, but Lilith is able to find him and tries to seduce him. Katherine receives a frantic call from Caleb and Rafe joins her to find him. Caleb has been turned into a vampire and captures Katherine and puts Rafe in the hospital. Joined by Reverend Current, who is looking to redeem himself for profiting off the deaths of sinners, Rafe fills Super Soakers with holy water and heads to the brothel. Will they be able to save Katherine and kill Lilith before it's too late?

There are worse ways to go

Movies always run the risk of casting someone who is popular at the time the movie is being made. Dennis Miller's television show on HBO was quite popular in the mid-90's and was known from his time at Saturday Night Live. His acting resume, though, wasn't particularly long and it showed in Bordello Of Blood. The movie tries so desperately to be funny, and while a few puns can elicit a chuckle, most fail to make the audience even crack a smile. The jokes come too quickly, mostly in the form of one-liners delivered by Miller's unique brand of comedy, which comes off as too sarcastic for the role. Action movies can be funny, it's just all in the delivery. Bruce Willis in Die Hard is a perfect example as his sarcasm is well-placed and well-timed. If John McClane made obscure topical references instead of saying “Yippy kay-yay, motherfucker” the movie wouldn't have worked. Angie Everhart is good in her role, though she is forced to spout some cringe-worthy one-liners of her own. Erika Eleniak does well and I appreciate the idea of making a former Playboy Playmate a church worker. Chris Sarandon is quite entertaining as the reverend as well.

Bordello Of Blood also tries to have a lot of action, which is more successful than the comedy. The violence is delightfully over-the-top and with gore and blood by the buckets. The movie has exploding vampires, beheadings, dismemberments, and everything in-between. The makeup and special effects look very good and convincing. The story of a bordello filled with prostitutes is actually quite creative and I'm surprised more horror movies haven't tried to emulate it. One thing I noticed about the movie, was that during the vampire fighting scene, Rafe and the reverend used water guns filled with holy water. If that sounds familiar, From Dusk Till Dawn had the same idea and the same year that Bordello Of Blood came out. It is entirely possible that it was a coincidence and I have no idea who came up with it first, but compared to the greatness of From Dusk Till Dawn, Bordello ends up looking silly. Speaking of silly, my autocorrect is filling in “Bordello of Blood” with “Bordello of Bloodsport”. That is a movie that needs to happen as soon as possible.

Hole in one

Originally, the trilogy was to include “Dead Easy”, “Demon Knight”, and “Body Count”. For whatever reason, only Demon Knight was actually made with Bordello of Blood and Ritual replacing the other two movies. Demon Knight is referenced a few times in the movie, such as a poster on Caleb's wall, and the inclusion of the key was a nice touch. The problem, though, is the key is destroyed in Bordello of Blood. Doesn't that mean the world will end, since the key was the only think keeping the demons from destroying the world in Demon Knight? Why include the key and express it's importance, just to destroy it and ignore the ramifications? I guess it doesn't matter since Bordello Of Blood did so poorly at the box office, essentially killing the TFTC movie series. When Ritual was released, it didn't even include the “Tales From The Crypt” banner or an intro from the Crypt Keeper. Thankfully, the Crypt Keeper was still in this movie, bringing his goofy puns and macabre jokes to the table. The inclusion of William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption, Die Hard 2) during the Crypt Keeper's scenes were fun. 

Please, no more Chelsea Clinton jokes

Bordello Of Blood has some fun vampire action and lots of blood and gore. It's cartoonish violence, but it is still entertaining. The cast is a who's who of the early-to-mid 1990's with most putting in decent performances. Dennis Miller essentially plays Dennis Miller, cracking wise without making the audience crack a smile. His acting career wasn't long as he spent a brief time not being funny on Monday Night Football and is currently a conservative commentator being funny for all the wrong reasons. The movie tries too hard being funny with bad jokes made worse by Miller's delivery. The movie never reaches the level of it's predecessor in terms of horror or genuine humor, but it still has it's entertaining moments.There is a considerable amount of nudity, adult content, and violence, so it may not be for younger viewers. If you need something goofy and violent, you could do worse than Bordello Of Blood. It's watchable, but should have been much better.


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