Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bordello of Blood

There is not much to be said about Bordello of Blood It was supposed to become a horror/comedy cult classic, but it is too--if you will pardon the vampiric pun--anemic with both the horror and the comedy. But really, how can a film starring Dennis Miller and corey Feldman hope to succeed?

The film begins with Lilith, the mother of all vampires, being brought back from the dead by heart restoration. Lilith is played by super model Angie Everhart. She cannot act her way out of a paper bag and speaks her dialogue as though English is her second language. Such problems translate poorly into job skills. About the best ever hart could do is start a brothel, so that is what Lilith does. Everhart may be brilliant casting in that regard, when you really think about it.

Next we meet Katherine, an employee of the local mega church whose delinquent brother, Caleb, has gone missing. Caleb is played by corey Feldman, who is essentially playing himself. The police are not much interested in helping her find Caleb because he has been a notorious troublemaker, so she hires a sarcastic private detective named rafe to find him. Rafe is played by Dennis Miller. We hit the trifecta here. Miller is also playing himself. It is a real shame all three of the main characters do not have to slide into a new persona, yet are all awful. None of the three must be comfortable in their own skin.

Rafe discovers Lilith’s brothel is being run beneath a funeral home. The brothel is staffed by vampires. Caleb is a client and eventually becomes a vampire. He is part of an elaborate scheme to funnel the brothel money into the mega church scam operation at which Katherine works. There is also some wild bit about Lilith regaining her immortality. Katherine is kidnapped. Rafe eventually rescues her and destroys the operation with a squirt gun full of holy water. You think the two are going to live happily ever after, but Katherine has become a vampire who kills him in the end.

The big problem with Bordello of Blood is that it is a Tales from the Crypt movie. Its failure can be chalked up to two points. One, Miller obviously thought he was bigger than the franchise. It is a humorous point considering how many bigger Hollywood stars starred in and worked on the HBO series. Miller tossed aside the dialogue written for him so he could do his usual brand of cynical wit and obscure references. I am a Miller fan. I found many of his adlibbed jokes funny. But I do not watch horror movies to see a Miller routine. His antics ruin the tension. If I had to guess, I would imagine writer/director held some animosity with Miller upon losing a lot of creative control. Feldman complained to Howard Stern during an interview while promoting the film that miller had refused to write any bits with him. The second point is Tales from the Crypt stories always end in a gruesome O. Henry manner. The bad guys have to win. In Bordello of Blood the bad guys lose and while Rafe meets a grisly end, after two hours of his smarting off, it is a relief. The ending just is not dark enough.

I cannot recommend Bordello of Blood. It does not even qualify as being so bad, it is entertaining to mock. It might have been that had another actor played Rafe and stuck to the script, but I have doubts. The film cannot decide what it wants to be--an absurd comedy or a post modern vampire mythology. The CGI is pretty decent for a 1996 release, but that is not enough reason to seek the movie out. It killed the planned franchise, save for a small DVD released film in 2001 which flopped badly. Skip Bordello of Blood and leave it up to the imagination why the storied franchise ended with it.

Rating: ** (out of 5)


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