Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996)

bordello-of-bloodI think with enough competent writers and good ideas, “Tales from the Crypt” could have lived on with a series of anthology horror pictures that could have told some bang up horror stories. I mean, the cinematic versions of the show are what John Carpenter originally planned for “Halloween.” Separate movies with various tales revolving around themes, and “Tales from the Crypt” almost pulled it off. They started off very well with “Demon Knight” and while they completely fumble with “Bordello of Blood,” it’s not a total disaster. There’s much to be desired, but there’s still a lot to enjoy here. It’s tough to follow up what the first film in the series accomplished as a low budget demon film with some great performances, but “Bordello of Blood” does try for individuality and humor where it fails in scares and creeps. I would not call this film scary at all, but it does supply some snarky humor and some incredible eye candy.

It seems as if someone on the production crew was a hardcore fan of Dennis Miller and pretty much allowed him carte blanche on a series of one-liners and improv that never actually amount to a character of texture or depth. Since Miller was an in vogue comic in the nineties, he’s the perfect snarky hero for a horror film. That is until he’s actually on-screen and then he really does nothing but pop cracks and rarely tries to convince us he a hero who can stand against an evil vampire queen.  It’s almost like casting Bill Murray as the hero for a dark horror film, except Dennis Miller is a much more smug and grating version of Murray. Murray handled the unorthodox formula better in “Ghostbusters.” It also doesn’t help that Miller spends the climax of the film murdering vampiric prostitutes with water guns. While spouting wise cracks.

To add to the haphazard writing and casting, the inclusion of the sacred key from “Demon Knight” is inexplicable and never actually brought up as a topic of conversation.  Did this film take place before or after “Demon Knight”? Is this just an out of sequence event from the guardian of the key’s mission, or did the guardian of the key die? Did the writers tack that on as a plot point by request of the producers and simply had nowhere to go with it? “Bordello of Blood” does have some memorable moments of dark comedy that really could have worked much better if the film didn’t have such a tongue in cheek atmosphere. You have to love the attack by the rabid vampire nurse in the hospital. Even the goofy cameo from Whoopi Goldberg is completely out of left field, but works as a gaff for the audience.

Angie Everhart is at her best as the vivacious Lilith who manages to hold her own in the film and is rarely ever out sexed by her lusty vampiric horde. She has a blast in the role, and achieves a respectable amount of menace and terror with her ability to manipulate as well as tear anyone to pieces with her talons. You also have to like Chris Sarandon as the opportunistic Reverend Current, and Erika Eleniak. “Bordello of Blood” achieves just what the movies originally set out to do. It feels like an extended special edition of the hit TV show, it just really can’t match up to the explosive first act that was “Demon Knight.” A weak follow-up to the very entertaining “Demon Knight,” the “Tales from the Crypt” sequel sports a clever premise but spends too much time on banking on Dennis Miller’s snarky sense of humor to really allow the film to entertain as a sexy dark comedy. It’s a shame the Tales from the Crypt movie series never launched in to a respectable franchise.