Friday, March 28, 2008

Blood & Lace

And Midnight Video Week comes to an end with one of the best movies in the mix, giving us multiple deranged killers, some oddly brilliant music, and a home for orphans that’s even more horrid than the halfway house in The Halfway House (though with a tragic lack of lesbian sex and cameltoe). It even gives us not one, not two, but three surprise twists at the end, one of which was pretty blatantly obvious, though the other two did catch me a bit by surprise.

Blood & Lace (not to be confused with the Bava film Blood & Black Lace) opens with a POV shot of a killer creeping around the exterior of a house at night before sneaking in through a door, grabbing a hammer, and heading for the bedroom. Inside the bedroom, a man and a woman are sleeping, and we get a delightfully retarded moment as we see the door opening from inside the room, but as the identity of the killer must be kept a mystery, rather than a hand pushing the door open, we get the hammer, which I can only assume was also used to turn the knob. Naturally, both sleepers are quietly bludgeoned to death (rather than the normal creaming one would expect from such a scene, the most either can muster up is a sort of lustful moaning), and the house is burned down.

We then cut to a newly orphaned daughter (in her late teens, I guess, though she looks like a full adult), who now has to live in a house with a bunch of other orphans. This house, of course, is a big scam, as is shown when a boy tries to escape in the night and has his hand taken off when the groundskeeper throws a cleaver at him. If that’s not enough for you, then I feel I must add that there are a number of bodies of previous unruly orphans kept in a meat locker in the basement, and that Mrs. Deere, the master of the house, has a truly inspired speech about modern medical advances and how someday soon we will have conquered death through the dark power of cryogenics (well, not in those exact words, but you get the idea). Really, she’s doing everyone a favor by killing them and keeping them perfectly preserved.

This film is truly inspired in its badness. There are unfortunately parts where it drags a bit, and it’s not extremely well made or acted, but there’s so much delightful silliness contained within it that I can’t help but love it. I couldn’t help but grin, for instance, at how every last action sequence had overly dramatic music blaring like Captain Kirk was duking it out with a deadly alien. Or the spontaneous catfight that occurs when our young heroine finds that she has a rival for the affections of the theoretically hot orphan boy there. Or the film’s final line, which may not be on the level of “Nobody’s perfect”, but it certainly ain’t bad for a horror movie.

I have to say, while there weren’t any grand slam **** films in the bunch, I really dug most of the movies I got from my impulse purchases at Midnight Video. It’s a shame the place is shutting down shop at the end of the month, it was nice being able to grab some otherwise unavailable obscure horror films like Hunchback of the Morgue and Spider Labyrinth from them. If you’ve got the cash, I’d definitely recommend checking out their site and seeing what they have left in stock before they’re gone. You likely won’t be disappointed.

Rating: ***

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