HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Blood and Lace
HTS Overall Score:63
One of my guiltiest pleasures are cheap, schlocky 70’s and 80s horror films. They’re bad in just about every sense of the word, borderline exploitation and shock films with lots of gore and creepy villains. Some of these cheap, schlocky, just plain bad films have gone on to be bonafide classics. Others, are just bad movies that are fun to watch and MST3K to death. “Blood and Lace” tends to be the latter. A film that revels in stupidity and melodramatic villains that wouldn’t get away with jack in real life, but in film land they’re terrifying and creepy. At its core “Blood and Lace” is a sadistic 70’s exploitation film that has very little in the way of intelligent writing, but makes up for with paint red/orange blood and sleazy villains galore.
After her prostitute mother is slaughtered by a hammer wielding villain at the start of the movie (done completely in POV style camera work from the killer’s perspective), teenage daughter Ellie Masters (Melody Patterson) is sent to an orphanage run by Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame) by slimy social worker Mr. Mullins (Milton Selzer). Mrs. Deere and Mr. Mullins have a bit of a “scratching the others back” situation going on. He sends her orphans so that she can get money from the state to care for them, and he gets a little action on the side from her. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that Mrs. Deere’s little mansion isn’t exactly as safe a haven as one would expect. Mrs. Deere is a certifiable lunatic, with a strict sense of rules. She runs the orphanage like a drill sergeant and fills up the freezer room with the remains of the children who try to run away (thanks to the help of drunken handyman Tom Kredge (Len Lesser) ).
Ellie is pretty sure that something is up from day one, but she’s more preoccupied with checking out the hot boys around the orphanage and picking fights with underage girls who are her romantic competitors to really see the warning signs till it’s almost too late. Once Ellie realizes the lengths that Mrs. Deere is willing to go to in order to keep her subjects in line and her secret safe, it’s at a critical tipping point in her plans. Trying desperately to escape, she’s boxed in at every turn. The lecherous Tom Kredge is on one of the spectrum, and if she tries to escape, Mrs. Deere is on the other side. To make matters worse she’s dodging a burned man with a hammer who just might be the killer who murdered her parents, back to finish the job.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59833[/img]“Blood and Lace” is laughably bad. Like REALLY laughably bad, even though it has a raw sort of charm to itself. There’s too many plots going on at once, and not enough time to truly exploit them all. The choice to have a dual killer storyline with the mysterious burned man from Ellie’s past as well as the present psychotic Mrs. Deere feels a bit cramped. However, I will fully admit that the end had a double twist that was really enjoyable, and will make your skin crawl with the creepiness of it.
There’s not a whole lot of gore except at the beginning and end, as the horror is mainly relegated to creepy lecherous old men, and dominating mistresses who lock people up in closets, basements and meat lockers for punishment. The opening kill scene of the movie is really REALLY badly done, back in time when blood meant some orangey red pain splashed across the place. Still, it’s creepy enough and grungy nasty enough that a good horror hound will definitely have a fun time. The ending twist is easy enough to see coming, even though it’s not wildly telegraphed, but the SECOND twist is the one (as cheesy as it is) that I didn’t see coming and was easily the most disturbing.
Rated R for some violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59841[/img]“Blood and Lace” is presented via SCREAM Factory with a 1.78:1 AVC encoded transfer. The transfer is a tad dated looking, shot on cheap film stock that tends to look rather graining a majority of the time. Colors are a teensy bit washed out, but can pop very vividly when blood is on screen, or the bright green of the outside of the orphanage. There is a brown overlay over the image, giving it a very dusky and grungy texture and there are some speckles and print imperfections here and there. However, the overall clarity is rather nice as fine detail is replicated quite nicely and long shots look impressive. There’s not a whole lot more that can be had out of the transfer unless a complete restoration was underwent, and a cheapo horror flick from 1971 PROBABLY won’t get that ever again.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59849[/img]The 2.0 DTS-HD MA audio track fares about as well as the video. It has a few flaws, but is more than acceptable for most people. I immediately noticed that I had to push the track just a bit higher volume than I normally have to on my receiver and thus was able to detect a mild hiss to the track at those higher levels. Dialog is well done, but sometimes mixed a bit lower than the rest of the effects, causing me to boost that volume as mentioned above. I can hear some crackles, pops and other anomalies here and there, but overall it's not a bad sounding track for the source material.
• Alternate Opening Title
• Theatrical Trailer
• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
“Blood and Lace” is NOT an iconic horror movie, but it’s rather entertaining in a 70’s exploitation sort of way. The acting is bad, the writing even worse, but the overacting is part of the charm, as veteran actress Gloria Grahame hams it up as the vile Mrs. Deere, and a young young Len Lesser sleazes up the screen at every turn. Audio and video are solid enough for a beat up old and grungy horror movie (horror movies aren’t exactly known for being shot with enormous budgets on quality film stock) and there’s actually a rather impressive amount of extras on the disc, with the main one being a very quality commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith. Worth checking out as a fun rental at least.
Starring: Gloria Grahame, Milton Selzer, Len Lesser
Directed by: Phillip S. Gilbert
Written by: Gil Lasky
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 87 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 24th 2015
Buy Blood and Lace On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
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