In the second feature film based on the iconic Tales from the Crypt comics/series ‘Bordello of Blood‘, the Crypt Keeper returns to tell the story of a funeral parlor that moonlights as a vampire bordello. After Universal Pictures’ commercial success ‘Demon Knight‘, this sequel was a complete box office flop and disliked by critics all over the world. 24 years later, let’s take another look at this suck fest.
For those who’ve never seen this gory erotic horror comedy before, we start the film in a jungle where an explorer is looking for a hidden treasure. After doing some digging he finds what he was looking for inside a casket – Hell’s madam, Lilith (played by Angie Everhart), a blood sucking monster controlled by whoever holds some sort of magic flask. With a mix of impressive practical and visual effects, her mummified body takes shape and an over the top massacre takes place inside the cave she’s slept in for centuries.
The cast’s biggest name is without a doubt the very convincing Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys), who gets told about a funeral home where men go to “attend the Cunningham wake”. Reluctant but looking for some hanky panky, Caleb (Feldman) and one of his drinking buddies get put in a casket that slides down a closed furnace with a one way ticket to an underground brothel, where a legion of naked women await them – or as one of the ladies likes to call it “the skin express to Tuna Town” – ahem, right…
These kind of jokes are like word vomit coming out of Dennis Miller’s private detective, who gets hired after Caleb’s evangelist sister Katherine (Erika Eleniak) alerts the cops of his disappearance. Rafe (Miller) starts off as an absolutely obnoxious character, but you warm up to him once you embrace his cringey jokes. In a way you have to, since he turns out to be the hero of the film, going above and beyond to prove to himself (???) how good he is at his job and impress the religious girl who’s clearly not interested in him. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, who created the ‘Back to the Future‘-trilogy really surprised horror-fans by writing this trashy blood bath, by now probably hoping many fans have forgotten about this part in their filmography.
Bordello of Blood is filled to the brim with boobs, gore, vampire prostitutes and unfortunately even gets a bit incestuous at the end, with Caleb thirsting over his sister, while she’s captured in a sex dungeon. It’s problematic in many ways, but as a ’90s horror flick it never gets boring and is beyond camp. Like a B-version of ‘From Dusk Til Dawn‘ where men go to get stiff among the stiffs, the film holds up pretty well and is very self aware of the universe it takes place in. Isn’t it about time to revive ‘Tales from the Crypt’? The Crypt Keeper has been asleep for way too long, if you ask me.
Retro Review – ‘Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood’ (1996)
Reviewed on Netflix, July 4, 2020. Rating: 18+ Running time: 87 min.
PRODUCTION: A Universal Pictures release of a Universal City Studios, Tales From The Crypt Holdings production. Producer: Gilbert Adler. Executive producers: Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis.
CREW: Director: Gilbert Adler. Story: Bob Gale, Robert Zemeckis. Screenplay: A L Katz, Gilbert Adler (based on the comic books “Tales from the Crypt” by William M. Gaines). Camera: Tom Priestley. Editor: Stephen Lovejoy. Music: Chris Boardman.
WITH: John Kassir, Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak, Angie Everhart, Chris Sarandon, Corey Feldman, Aubrey Morris, Phil Fondacaro, William Sadler, Ciara Hunter.