Back in 1995, pioneering HBO horror anthology show Tales From The Crypt decided to make the jump to the big screen with the rollicking gore extravaganza Demon Knight. Enthusiastically directed by Ernest Dickinson (best known for being Spike Lee’s cinematographer) and featuring a suprisingly starry cast and a virtual monsoon of gooey special effects and cinematic plasma, it took it’s far out, Evil Dead style concept and book ended it with intros and outros by the pun spewing, cracking corpse we all know and love as the Crypt Keeper. Making just enough of a splash to warrant another trip to the crypt, a second, completely different, story was cooked up (by Back To The Future veterans Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, no less), but this time round the funky balance of the first movie was off and instead we got a thin blooded vampire romp that sucked in all the wrong ways.
Caleb Verdoux is the very definition of a soul who is on the road to oblivion; hard drinkin’ and no thinkin’, he rots his brain away with heavy metal music, drugs and an unwavering desire to constantly get laid. Personally, I think that all sounds pretty sweet, but Caleb’s sister, Katherine, is on a desperate mission to save his soul as she is not only a devout christian but works closely with flamboyant televangelist Reverend J.C. Current on his T.V. show.
Caleb is directed to a secret brothel located under a funeral home that can be accessed by a chute hidden in a crematorium furnace that you slide down while sat inside a coffin (how desperate would you have to be for some lovin’ to have to go through all of that rigamarole) which leads to a harem loaded with topless women. So far, so suspect; but things get even worse when it’s revealed that the bordello is run by Lilith, the recently resurrected “mother of all vampires” who has the rather novel way of feeding by launching her prehensile tongue down a poor bastard’s throat and pushing their heart out through their ribcage from the inside.
Worried about her brother’s disappearance (for some reason), Katherine hires a lowlife private investigator named Rafe Guttman who speaks entirely in sardonic comments but actually manages to rumble Lilith’s game by infiltrating the brothel on a couple of occasions. Figuring out that J.C. Current is financing the blood soaked bordello in order to purge fornicators and sinners from the streets (By bankrolling vampires? You wanna run that one by me again, chief?), Guttman gets himself on Lilith’s hit list when she discovers that he has an extremely rare, and extremely tasty, blood type and targets him and the ridiculously virginal Katherine for her own ends. Teaming up with a double crossed J.C. (What’s the world coming to, when you can’t even trust an ageless, heart-eating, mother of vampires anymore…) the trash talking private dick fills up supersoakers with holy water and sets to get these vampire floozys onto their back – permanently.
Featuring more scattered breasts than a gas explosion in KFC and less subtlety than an octopus’ lap dance, Bordello Of Blood is a crass, cartoonish gorefest that forgets that in among all the boobs and copiously spraying bodily fluids, it’s supposed to be actually, y’know, funny. Now don’t misunderstand me, I love me some ridiculous comedy horror, but if such geniuses such as Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson have taught us anything it that you need to be smart to make something wilfully so stupid.
Literally no one was expecting something called Bordello Of Blood to be a Freudian dissection of the sexual appetites of buxom vampires working in the skin trade but the parade of obese farting corpses and dialogue in the quality of “How would to like to take the skin express to tuna town?” tests the patience instead of tickling the funny bone.
The film can’t even hold the distinction of being remotely original as virtually every other hooker based horror comedy (the Grace Jones starring Vamp being by far the most obvious), manage to smoke it’s shapely ass without even trying and worse yet, it even had the misfortune of being released the same year as vastly superior Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino blowout From Dusk Till Dawn, which is essentially the Citizen Kane of vampire stripper movies.
There’s some neat imagination in some of the nicely canny casting with a couple of familiar faces plucked directly from two of the most recognizable vampire flicks from the 80’s with Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon and The Lost Boy’s Corey Feldman making a welcome appearance; but the rest of the cast are as draining as the vamps who populate this flick.
Terminally snide stand-up comedian Dennis Miller turns his incredibly punchable character into an unbearable maelstrom of smarm; former girlfriend of Sylvester Stallone, Angie Everhart, tries to make her flame-haired villainess alluring simply by borrowing Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman vocal chords; and everyone else is content to wildly overact like their in some messed up panto fueled entirely by liberal doses of Spanish Fly but not even some admittedly imaginative splatter can hold the interest for long….
As fun as being stuck next to an openly chatty pervert on the bus, Bordello Of Blood has all the energy and production value of Demon Knight, but none of the talent leaving the best parts of the movie to ironically be the bits that have nothing to do with the actual story… Behold the beginning and ending segments with the Crypt Keeper engaging in a feud with a jealous film directing Mummy (Egyptian, not matriarch) played by Crypt regular William Sadler – and was that a cameo by Whoopi fucking Goldberg?
Never mind the crypt, Bordello Of Blood is exactly the sort of tale that crematoriums are made for…