BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Blood and Lace (1971) - Blu-ray Review

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Blood and Lace - Blu-ray Review

3 beersIt's a Wonderful Life’s Gloria Grahame and Len Lesser (ya know, Uncle Leo from Seinfeld), make a deadly duo in Philip Gilbert’s Blood and Lace. Written and co-produced by Gil Lasky (The Night God Screamed), the slasher flick is a wannabe skin flick that teases its sleaze more than it rewards its patient viewers. Even the blood is relatively tame. While its critical average is surprisingly still moderately high, this is a horror film that does most of its shocking with a twist ending that – in spite of everything else about the film (except for a couple of kills) – manages to make it somewhat memorable.

 But then that overlooks what’s most important about this low budget horror picture movie show. To put it bluntly, Blood and Lace came first and laid the groundwork for many, many other auteurs of horror.

 Throw logic out the window with this one, folks. The flick stars Melody Patterson (F Troop) as Ellie Masters, the final girl in a legacy of death that includes her own prostitute mother, an unknown father, and a hammer; all to be revealed within the walls of a bizarre orphanage. Don’t piss off the orphanage’s head honcho, though. And don’t even attempt to run away. Uncle Leo will hunt you down, make you wrap your arms around a tree, and then chop you to pieces!

Blood and Lace has a claim to fame, though. It was the first slasher flick and, apparently, inspired a whole lot of imitators that did things bigger and better. Much like Halloween, it begins with a POV shot from the killer that spends the rest of the movie stalking in the shadows. Sound familiar? A little bit of Friday the 13th, too? Oh, it gets better. A girl is chased by a man with a burnt face, wearing a red and black shirt, and everyone tells her it’s a dream. Hmmm. While we aren’t in Texas, the victims of a murderer are hung in meat lockers. Hmmm. There’s a dominating mother figure played by an aging veteran actress. Hmmm.

 So, yeah, basically with Blood and Lace you have the blueprints for the slasher sub-genre that was to come but, unfortunately, the movie, as a whole, just isn’t that great because it plugs away at its sleazy-feelings with a PG attitude. Wtf?! Okay, okay. So it’s got a strong cast that includes Milton Selner as a social worker and the marvelous Vic Tayback (from Alice) as a detective with the hots for Master, our golden girl, but it merely flirts with the grindhouse elements that could have made it something we continue to largely ignore.

 While Scream Factory goes out of their way to make us hip to what is essentially the basis for Wes Craven’s The People under the Stairs with this blu-ray release, that doesn’t quite make up for budgetary limitations, a weak soundtrack of library orchestral music, and a surprisingly forward-thinking script, all under the direction of a director that doesn’t quite commit to what is being sold.

 And, yet, we have scenes where murdered orphans – after months in the freezer – are “posed” to fool those workers from the city whose job it is to check in on them from time to time. Just imagine the smell when the corpses begin to thaw and the fluids start to leak from pores and other orifices!!!

 Blood and Lace was once called the sickest film ever rated PG and, without a doubt, it truly is. It is also one of the weirdest.

Blood and Lace - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for some violence
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Philip S. Gilbert
Writer:
Gil Lasky
Cast:
Gloria Grahame, Milton Selzer, Len Lesser
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
SHOCK after SHOCK after SHOCK as DESIRE drives a bargain with MURDER!
Memorable Movie Quote: "What you call death, may only be the temporary absence of life."
Distributor:
American international Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 12, 1971
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 24, 2015
Synopsis: After her prostitute mother and her john are beaten to death while they are asleep in bed, teen-aged Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs. Deere and her handyman. Taking an avid interest in her welfare is detective Calvin Carruthers. Taking almost no interest at all, is social worker Harold Mullins who is completely under Mrs. Deere's thumb. Lots of unpleasant surprises are in store for Ellie, not the least of which is the fact that Mrs. Deere and her handyman are both brutal sadists, who run the orphanage like a concentration camp and the strong possibility that her mother's hammer-wielding killer is now stalking her.

Blood and Lace - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 24, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
Region Encoding: A

Having suffered years of shoddy late-night cable TV screenings, we are pleased to report that Scream Factory finally gave a shit about this film and ordered up a new HD master, and the results are pretty spiffy. Gone are the murky mysteries of the third act and now viewers can see what the hell is going on within the shadows of the orphanage. Black levels are consistent and colors are strong. Presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, this new transfer while not perfect, goes a long way to correct versions previously seen. The original DTS-HD 2.0 English mono track is the only audio option and luckily it's a good one. Nothing too crazy to involve the surrounds, but just some well-balanced center channel fun.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by film historian Richard Harland Smith, the feature length commentary goes out of its way to right the wrongs of history and give this film its proper appreciation among horror enthusiasts.

Special Features:

I feel that Scream Factory has dropped the ball a bit on the special features for this one and, truthfully, I don’t think there’s a good enough reason why they did. This is a film that, warts and all, is destined for a remake and deserves to be recognized for what it did with regard to the future of the horror genre. By including solely an alternate opening title and a theatrical trailer, the truths in this feature will continue to be ignored.

  • Alternate Opening Title
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

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