ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 29, 1996
By Steve Newton
About halfway through Bordello of Blood, the second of three features slated to come from the producers of TV’s Tales from the Crypt, private detective Rafe Guttman (Dennis Miller) makes a lame wisecrack that stands out from the multitude of others infesting this puerile horror-comedy. While he and Bible-thumping babe Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak) search a spooky industrial site for her missing brother Caleb (Corey Feldman), the smart-ass dick takes in his surroundings and quips: “I feel like I’m in a bad Tales from the Crypt episode or something.”
Of course, if they edited this stinker down to 30 minutes and showed it on the tube, that’s exactly what it would be.
Bordello of Blood is a colossal step down from last year’s Demon Knight, the Crypt feature that drew two severed thumbs-up, thanks to the feverish direction of ex–Spike Lee cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, the inspired performances of stars William Sadler and Billy Zane, and the dynamic makeup FX of Todd Masters.
This time the director-cowriter (Gil Adler) is a guy who often writes, produces, and directs Crypt episodes for the small screen, and instead of hiring skilled actors for the main roles, they’ve got second-rate performers whose main claims to fame are the Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” segment (Miller), Baywatch (Eleniak), and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (Angie Everhart, who portrays the titular whorehouse’s head vampire).
It’s no wonder Bordello of Blood fails as anything but a gory T&A spectacle for the mouth-breather set.
The fact that this movie was shot in Vancouver isn’t going to attract any big film-development bucks to our town, but familiar locations such as the North Shore Mountains and the B.C. Pavilion at least provide distraction from the ill-plotted proceedings. The pavilion is the headquarters for Rev. Jimmy Current (the slumming Chris Sarandon), a guitar-toting televangelist who resurrects “the mother of all vampires” (Everhart) so she and her scantily clad cohorts can tear the hearts out of horny sinners at a cathouse operating beneath a mortuary. When Feldman’s 30ish-looking “teen” headbanger gets vampirized while on a nooky hunt, his protective sis hires the bland Guttman to locate the nauseating twerp.
And that’s it for story line. The rest of the film is devoted to the setting up of juvenile one-liners, close-up breast shots, and a “look who we’ve got!” cameo by Whoopi Goldberg. It all leads to a predictable climax of exploding vampire hookers when Guttman pulls an Arnie with a Super-Soaker full of holy water.
Isn’t it a bit early for a semiremake of From Dusk Till Dawn?