Title: Bordello of Blood (1996)
Director: Gilbert Albert
Cast: Christopher Sarandon, Dennis Miller, Angie Everhart, Erika Eleniak, Corey Feldman, William Sadler, Phil Fondacaro, John Kassir
I am still on a Halloween hangover as I type this. This past Halloween 2010 was all sorts of fun. I ended up being a movie DJ at a local pub, and so I screened three gory horror classics under the light of the full moon: Evil Dead 2 (1987), Demons (1985), and Dead Alive (1992). I loved doing that because people who would normally never see Evil Dead 2 were like “what movie is that?! I need to rent it!” At home, after all the Halloween parties were over and done with, I ended up watching Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood on Halloween night. I wasn’t planning too, but that’s what I ended up watching and I’m glad that’s the movie I ended up seeing because it was actually the perfect kind of film to watch on Halloween Night. It was fun, fast paced and cheesy in that way that only a Tales from the Crypt movie could be. I remember being disappointed with this one when it first came out, but for some reason I found myself enjoying it a whole lot more this time around. Maybe now I’m old enough to get Dennis Millers hilariously sarcastic dialogue?
This film starts out with this midget version of Indiana Jones (played by Phil Fondacaro) searching for this magical key that can be used to fight evil. Actually, if you’ve seen the first Tales from the Crypt movie (Demon Knight) then you’ll recognize it as the key that they used in that movie to stop the demons; the key that has Jesus Christ’s blood inside of it. So anyhows, Midget Indy wants to become a vampire and so he is going to resurrect Lilith, Queen of All Vampires so she can do him the favor. He figures he can keep her in check by using the key. Unfortunately, Queen Lillith ends up being a lot cleverer then Midget Indy expected, and so Lillith escapes and opens up a whore house or “a house inhabited by whores” as Dennis Miller puts it at one point. What happens is, teenagers get invited to this whorehouse to have the “best goddamn pussy in the whole goddamn world!” and once they get to the whorehouse, they become victims to the whores, who are all hot vampire vixens. Dennis Miller investigates and tries to stop them.
Lillith, immediately after resurrection
So just why did I enjoy this movie so much you may ask? Well, for starters, the dialog is freaking hilarious! Dennis Millers wise ass puns, and sarcastic one liners truly make Bordello of Blood a whole lot funnier then it should be. I mean, this dude had me cracking up all through out the film. Miller reportedly regrets having worked on this film. I guess that’s why the one liners are so bitter and dry at times, I mean, you could tell Miller was making fun of these situations and dialog. I’m pretty sure Miller adlibbed a lot of the dialog on this film. How much of smart ass is Miller on this movie? Well, in one scene when he is speaking to his ex wife over the phone and he tells her: “You’re reminding me why being married to you drove me to the brink of homosexuality!” Then, after that, he tells her “I gotta go, Fuck You!” In another scene he tells Lillith, the vampire queen: “I’m not going to tell you those aren’t the Breasts of the Century, but I’m just not digging the owner, so why don’t you put those away, you’re not my type!” And that stinging dialog continues all through out the movie, non stop, all the time. Like a machine gun of insults and sarcasm. Miller definitely makes this movie infinitely more watchable.
But that’s not all ladies and gentlemen; there is more goodness to be had with this movie. Chris Sarandon, he who played Jerry Dandridge the head vampire in Fright Night (1985) plays a preacher on this film. A money hogging show man, who knows how to play the crowd and give them what they want over at the ole church. Which reminds me, you can chalk Bordello of Blood up on the list of films that criticize the commercialism of religion, and the showmanship of the whole thing. The spectacles some of these preachers put up in order to gather the attention of a crowd! Chris Sarandon plays one such character who goes by the name of Reverend J.C. Chris’s Sarandon’s J.C. is a preacher who puts on a stage show and reads all his lines from a teleprompter, the fakest and most obscene type of preacher. He doesn’t share his fortune with his followers or his henchmen, he has them all working for “the lord” for free. J.C.’s most loyal follower is played by Erika Eleniak who was made famous during her run on Baywatch. On Bordello of Blood she plays this squeaky clean Christian girl whom Dennis Miller gets the hots for. Unfortunately, as he puts it at one point “Old time Christianity and sex don’t mix! Unless you’re a catholic priest” So we got a great cast on this film. We even get Corey Feldman playing a vampire on this one which was kind of funny since he had played a vampire hunter a couple of years before Bordello in The Lost Boys (1988).
"Oh Shit! This Sucks!" Corey Feldman, playing a vampire
To make things even better, this movie is not afraid to show its gore! Bordello of Blood is merciless on this department! Lillith and her clan of vampire whores have no problem with ripping a guys heart out with their bare hands and sucking the blood from the still beating heart! I mean, you can actually see that sequence on the film. But there’s lots more gooey fun in the film. Bordello of Blood didn’t pussy out from showing the gore like a lot of today’s horror movies do. Even the SAW movies use quick cuts and editing as a way to not show too much. Not so in Bordello of blood, a film that wears its gore proudly. One gloriously entertaining gore sequence has the good guys breaking into the whorehouse with their holy water guns. It’s a vampire massacre with hot vampire vixens exploding into a ball of fire as holy water is squirted on them! And it all happens to the tune of the extremely appropriate “Ballroom Blitz”! Gory, gory fun, it reminds me of why I love horror movies and why I enjoy that very unique Tales from the Crypt style of humor.
The gore is plentiful in Bordello of Blood
Another thing: as I was watching Bordello of Blood an idea popped into my head. This movie is about a coven of vampires that run a whore house and use the bordello as a way to lure in their victims. Immediately, another film from the eighties with a similar premise popped into mind: Vamp (1986). I immediately thought that Bordello (staying true to its vampire themes) fed off of the premise presented in Vamp and took it on a more comedic/adventurous route. It might have also fed from Robert Rodriguez’s and Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). I find it curious that Bordello was released mere months after from From Dusk Till Dawn. It made me think that it was filmed to capitalize on the success of From Dusk Till Dawn. You know what I’m talking about. It was one of those things in which different studios release similarly themed movies, hoping that the success of one film will rub off on the other. Kind of like how when The Abyss (1989) was being made, other studios went on to make similar underwater themed films like Leviathan (1989) and Deep Star Six (1989) because they smelled success with the underwater sci-fi movie. The Abyss had a huge buzz around it at the time. Same thing with Bordello. Whatever the purpose for making a film like Bordello was to its producers, I think the results were extremely entertaining. And also, I guess Vamp though not the most amazing vampire movie to come out of the 80s, was more influential then I had thought!
Angie Everheart plays Lillith, the vampire with the "Breasts of the Century"
This film was to be the second film in a trilogy of Tales from the Crypt films, unfortunately, Bordello of Blood tanked so atrociously at the box office that the third feature was not marketed as a Tales from the Crypt film. It was simply released under the title “Ritual”. But since even Ritual tanked at the box office, it was then released straight to DVD as part of the Tales from the Crypt franchise. They even filmed two book end scenes involving the Crypt Keeper as a way to make Ritual a part of the whole Tales from the Crypt thing. But, truth is that no Tales from the Crypt fan really considers Ritual as part of the first two films. Ritual is seen as a standalone Tales from the Crypt film. Why did Bordello tank? Why was it such a box office bomb? Why the sudden loss of interest in the franchise? Maybe folks had already had their fill of the Crypt Keeper after 7 seasons on HBO and two movies. Maybe it was deemed too gory or too anti-religious? I think it was the potent mix of all these elements. Still, Bordello of Blood remains an entertaining and funny horror gem left to be enjoyed by those willing to give it a chance on DVD.
Rating: 4 out of 5
William Sadler here playing The Mummy, appeared on the first episode of the HBO show and on both Tales from the Crypt movies! Way to go William Sadler!