Main cast: Dennis Miller (Rafe Guttman), Erika Eleniak (Catherine Verdoux), Angie Everhart (Lilith), Chris Sarandon (Reverend JC Current), Corey Feldman (Caleb Verdoux), Aubrey Morris (McCutcheon), Phil Fondacaro (Vincent Prather), Juliet Reagh (Tallulah), Eli Gabay (Miguel), Matt Hill (Reggie), Eric Keenleyside (Noonan), Robert Munic (Zeke), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Gilbert Adler
Bordello of Blood is the second movie in the Tales from the Crypt franchise, and imagine my shock when I realize that this one is not written by the folks who did Demon Knight. The other one must be done by the A-team, since that movie is everything this one isn’t. This one is not funny, not fun, not interesting, not entertaining, and not worthy of following that other movie. Then again, we had some pretty big names in that movie, while here we have… uh, Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak, Corey Feldman, and Chris Sarandon, and when Chris Sarandon is the only one remotely worthy of being called a cult icon, that’s the kind of caliber we have in this baby.
Okay, the plot is a bit convoluted in an ouroboros of dumb dumb way, so bear with me. The movie opens with stumpy Vincent Prather who, for reasons I’m still not sure of, leads a bunch of men to locate the tomb of the long-dead vampire queen Lilith. Wait, she’s not really dead, as Vincent resurrects her and has her kill all his companions, before showing her that he has the key – which looks like the one in Demon Knight but has no relationship with that one whatsoever; the people behind this movie clearly love recycling their props – which can control her. So they become… besties, I guess, because when we cut to later, Lilith has opened a brothel populated by vampires, and Caleb Verdoux goes there with his fellow idiot buddies to lose his virginity only to… uh, lose his life.
Caleb’s sister Catherine works for the Reverend JC Current, a flamboyant evangelist, so she is on the prim and proper side. She has a very tumultuous relationship with Caleb – maybe because her “younger brother” looks at least ten years older than she is – but she reluctantly decides to get help when he goes MIA. The cops ignore her, but fortunately, smarmy PI Rafe Guttman decides to help her anyway. They soon cross paths with Lilith, who… surprise… is in cahoots with JC Current for reasons so stupid that I’d leave you guys to find out for yourself. Hey, I have to give people a reason to watch this thing, after all.
Now, in this one, only three people display an ounce of comedic timing: Dennis Miller, Angie Everhart, and Phil Fondacaro. Unfortunately, they are saddled with very terrible and lazy puns and one-liners that make me cringe. Some punchlines, in fact, are lifted without changing even a word from Tales from the Crypt episodes, which means the script writers are barely trying to come up with original materials here. Erika Eleniak looks and is way out of her depths here, what with her instant-fail wooden delivery of already uninspired puns and punchlines, while Corey Feldman is what he is, only he doesn’t have much screen time here to matter anyway. Chris Sarandon… well, he is made to behave like a middle-aged coot, admittedly a well-preserved one, on steroids flailing around because this movie has zero nuance or subtlety.
The comedy isn’t much good, because it’s mostly juvenile. I’m expected to immediately laugh uproariously because the movie has men doing dumb things at the sight of a woman’s breasts or passing gas because, haw haw, we’re all eight years old today. Compared to this one, the comedy in Demon Knight, well balanced with humor and some character development, comes off as a work of art.
Despite its saucy title, Bordello of Blood generates second-hand embarrassment every ten minutes rather than chuckles and cheers. I’m not sure what happened between that movie and this one, but whatever that is, maybe that will make a gory Tales from the Crypt episode by itself.