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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Tales from the Crypt Presents
Bordello of Blood

Reviewed for by Dustin Putman

The Film
2 Stars
(Release Date: October 20, 2015) – As quickly as HBO's "Tales from the Crypt" anthology series translated to the big screen, it crashed and burned with just its second film (a third, "Ritual," was filmed in 2001 and went direct-to-video in 2006). When "Demon Knight" earned a nice chunk of change in January 1995, a follow-up was hastily put into production. Alas, something seemed very off about "Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood." The script was less inspired, the production values were tackier, and the hearts of its makers didn't seem to be in it. Earning less than $6-million total at the box office, the picture put the kibosh on a new movie series just as it was getting started.

Directed by Gilbert Adler, "Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood" reeks of a troubled production—for all of the dirt on what went on behind the scenes, look no further than the brand-new, 36-minute, no-holds-barred retrospective documentary on the Blu-ray disc—but isn't without an off-kilter charm. The premise sounds spicier than it actually is, with the concerned Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak) teaming up with caustic private detective Rafe Guttman (Dennis Miller) to investigate the disappearance of her brother Caleb (Corey Feldman) following his visit to McCutcheon Mortuary & Brothel. The bordello's scintillating creatures of the night, it turns out, are literal creatures of the night, led by master vampiress Lilith (Angie Everhart).

"Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood" works best as religious satire—Katherine works for a fraudulent, opportunistic televangelist played by Chris Sarandon—but never quite takes off as a mystery or a tale involving bloodsuckers. There is an odd lethargy permeating the narrative, while the proceedings are so brightly lit that potential atmosphere flies away like a bat in the moonlight. Nineteen years removed from its theatrical release, "Bordello of Blood" has plenty of problems, but is oddly likable precisely because it's so misguided. This is damning praise, to be sure, but it does have the second-best use of Sweet's "The Ballroom Blitz" in cinema history (the first will forever and always be 1992's "Wayne's World").

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

One positive result of the near-incessant brightness of "Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood" is its impressive 1080p transfer. This film is only a year younger than "Demon Knight," but the picture quality is worlds better—cleaner, clearer and healthier. Colors are solid and appear accurate, black levels are richly resolved with minimal crush, and detail in facial features, backgrounds, and textures are easily discerned. Age-related dirt and specks sneak in every once in a while, but this has obviously been sourced from a vibrant print that remains in great shape. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio nearly matches the picture quality with an effective aural mix of music, dialogue and sound effects. This film isn't as active audio-wise as "Demon Knight," but there is a pleasing ambiance to its soundfield and enough uses of the surrounds (especially when it comes to its soundtrack) to fully immerse. A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is also included.

Blu-ray Features
  • Audio Commentary with screenwriter A.L. Katz
  • "Tainted Blood: The Making of Bordello of Blood" Featurette (36:08, HD), one of the juiciest, most honest and uncompromising retrospective docs the Blu-ray format has seen all year, featuring interviews with co-writer/co-producer A.L. Katz, actors Angie Everhart, Corey Feldman and Erika Eleniak, editor & second unit director Stephen Lovejoy, and special effects creator Todd Masters
  • Video Promo (3:12, HD)
  • Still Gallery (5:34, HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:42, HD)
Bottom Line
"Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood" sinks its teeth into the high-def market with Scream Factory's excellent Collector's Edition Blu-ray release. The film may be of the hit-and-miss variety, but it is single-handedly worth owning for the top-notch, blisteringly honest "Tainted Blood" documentary found on the disc. Kudos to all the participants who agreed to be interviewed for this retrospective, an invaluable discussion on how easily egos and creative differences can sink a project. Highly recommended.

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© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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