Following the modest box office success of Demon Knight, Universal Studios booked another feature-length date with The Crypt Keeper. In fact, Universal apparently saw a lot of potential in the Tales from the Crypt franchise. Rumor has it that they had their eyes set a trilogy. And that’s when Bordello of Blood happened. No one expected critics to like it. Still the box offices returns fell well short of expectations. Despite following the same format as Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood didn’t impress many people outside of the male teen demographic.
After a fight with his sister, Caleb Verdoux, along with a friend, visits a secret brothel hidden in a funeral home. But delight gives way to terror when Caleb discovers the prostitutes’ are actually vampires led by the mother of all vampires, Lilith. When Caleb never comes home and the police prove useless, Catherine Verdoux hires a down-on-his-luck private eye, Rafe Guttman.
Bordello of Blood Dutifully Checks Off the Boxes
It’s a Tales from the Crypt movie called Bordello of Blood, so there’s really only a few prerequisites – gratuitous gore, gratuitous nudity, and inappropriate humour. By and large, director Gilbert Adler delivers on all three albeit with mixed results. Certainly, there’s no shortage of gratuitous nudity as vampire prostitutes lounge and party with their unsuspecting clientele. Former model Angie Everhart makes for a devilishly fun ‘mother of vampires’. And the gratuitous gore is exactly the sort of silly, over-the-top fare you’d want in this sort of movie. One scene shot to ‘Ballroom Blitz’ almost captures the zany energy fans went into the movie expected. Back in the 1990’s, Bordello of Blood was probably a teen boys’ sleepover favourite.
Though the violence is gratuitous, it rarely feels inspired.
But Bordello of Blood never shrugs off the feeling that it’s missing something. When Miller’s talking the jokes hit their mark, but the rest of the movie’s humor is scattershot. Though the violence is gratuitous, it rarely feels inspired. Earlier that year, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn set the bar for gross-out vampire horror-comedy. Both movies earn their R-ratings but you can’t help but feel that Bordello of Blood goes through the motions. When the movie’s over you’ll struggle to remember any one particular scene. Even the soundtrack falls short of Demon Knight.
Bordello of Blood’s Appeal Will Likely Depend on Your Feelings for Dennis Miller
Demon Knight had Billy Zane in a cult-worthy performance. Bordello of Blood has Dennis Miller playing Dennis Miller. And you either like Dennis Miller or you don’t. That just about sums up the difference between Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. While he’s not believable as a gumshoe detective, Miller quips and delivers his trademark deadpan humour. Most of the jokes land. And Miller is probably the best part of the movie, which again depends largely on your opinion of Miller himself. But even if you’re not a Miller fan, his acerbic humor fits well with the Tales from the Crypt style itself. Despite lacking in acting experience, Everhart is also up to the task.
Bordello of Blood has Dennis Miller playing Dennis Miller. And you either like Dennis Miller or you don’t.
Though the rest of the falls somewhat short of Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood still has a few familiar B-movie faces. In a bit of reverse casting, former Playboy playmate Erika Eleniak (The Blob) plays an uptight Christian working for a televangelist. As the aforementioned preacher, genre veteran Chris Sarandon (Fright Night) is as good as you’d expect. Aside from Eleniak, Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys) plays the deadbeat brother which, by the mid-90s, was a well-suited role. No one was ever going to confuse Feldman for an Oscar-winning actor, but his scene-chewing is perfect for a Tales from the Crypt movie.
Bordello of Blood Mildly Entertaining In Small Bouts
Like Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood aims squarely for campy horror fun. And for the most part, the movie hits its mark. Nothing about the story makes much sense, which is to be expected. In place of logic and scares, Bordello of Blood offers up enough silly gore and gratuitous nudity to satisfy its target audience. If Dennis Miller isn’t Billy Zane, he’s funny enough to fill out what the role requires for a Tales of the Crypt movie. At the very least, Miller fills in the movie’s quieter scenes with a handful of good zingers. Trim about 15 minutes off the runtime and Bordello of Blood probably plays out better. As it stands, if you’re not a diehards 90’s horror fan, there’s not much here for you.