THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!
Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996)
Directed by Gilbert Adler
“While Bordello of Blood did bury the series, it's gotten an unfair rap as the killer.”
When Tales From the Crypt aired on HBO throughout the first half of the 1990s, it was a hell of a show, unlike anything horror fans had ever seen before. Not that the content was original, but more so because of the talent in front of and behind the camera (seriously, EVERYONE worked on the show) and that horror was being done well on a weekly basis. Not only did it make the anthology approach work (which really hadn’t worked since The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside to a lesser extent), but the thing was ballsy, demented, and bloody thanks to HBO's free reign. The show was never afraid of pushing the boundaries of bad taste.
So why look back at this movie now? Well, this might sound stupid, but with the recent chatter of Tales from the Darkside coming back to TV, it made me miss anthology horror. Sure, a few years back Showtime made a solid stab at it with Masters of Horror, but that show tried to be bigger than needed instead of small, gritty and entertaining.
Anyway, back to the point. After the Tales from the Crypt had run its course on HBO, producers decided the world needed to see everyone's favorite Crypt Keeper on the big screen. After the mild success of their first film Demon Knight, mega-producers Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, and Robert Zemeckis decided to give fans another installment with Bordello of Blood.
Some elements remain from the first movie, but Bordello of Blood is perhaps best known for a few things. 1) It has perhaps one of the weirdest damn casts ever assembled with Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak, Angie Everhart, Chris Sarandon, and … Corey Feldman? 2) Nudity. And plenty of it. 3) The flick flopped...killing the franchise with an abundance of puns. While Bordello of Blood did bury the series, it's gotten an unfair rap as the killer. Perhaps the franchise had reached its peaked. Perhaps the ad campaign blew. Perhaps a lot of things, but this film is way better than I remembered...as long as I remembered to take nothing serious.
In case you missed it, the story revolves around a quirky private dick Rafe Guttman (Miller with the worst character name ever?) who is hunting down a missing brother (Feldman) for his hot, but religious sister (Eleniak). Standing in Rafe's way? A collection of very hot and very nude vampires lead by the very attractive Everhart.
No one will ever screen this movie to an acting class, but for the horror junkie there’s plenty of love to give with more than enough gore to go around here, and even more nudity. The starts off with a bang with a cheap Indiana Jones excursion that leads to immediate blood shed to moving to the worst French kiss ever. The movie never skips on the bloodshed, and never shies away from terrible puns. “Don't eat your heart out, baby - that's my job.” Or "I'd rather Crazy Glue my dick to a bullet train than f*ck you." It's a little much at times, but like the series, this movie never takes itself too seriously. Why should it? Tales from the Crypt always wanted the audience in on the joke, and while the jokes here don't always work, it's not hard to understand the attempt.
As for the weird as cast....first, Corey Feldman is the oddest pick as he stars as Corey Feldman ...er...Caleb. Who the hell ever said Feldman could always dress like an asshole? Seriously, why do they let him where whatever he wants? Are cut off gloves and a leather coat in his contract? It's fun to see him in here, but Jesus, where did his acting talent go.
But our star is one Dennis Miller. Now I’m not sure if there’s a lot of Miller fans still out there. Hell, I don’t even know if he’s still considered a comedian. But this was Miller’s shot at a starring role, and for the most part he does a good job of being, well, Dennis Miller. I don’t know what was in the actual script, but it seems safe to assume his lines was simply suggested as he just does his thing. And that’s not really a bad thing.
The movie is already admittedly stupid, so Miller decided to just roll with it and say whatever the hell he wanted to ("I feel like I'm in a bad episode of Tales from the Crypt!). Half the time he either looks embarrassed to be in a scene or annoyed that he was on set. Regardless, I like the approach. Miller ends up with a one of the loosest performances ever as he just shoots quips and odd references in the middle of a vampire invasion.
No one with ever consider Bordello of Blood A-quality, but they shouldn't. Tales from the Crypt always beat the shit out of morals and ethics, and never even bothered to glance near logic. But that's what makes it entertaining -- doing whatever the hell they wanted.