• Blood And Lace



    Released by: Scream Factory
    Released on: November 24th, 2015
    Director: Philip Gilbert
    Cast: Gloria Grahame, Len Lesser, Milton Selzer
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie

    Blood and Lace is a fairly cheesy and hokey drive-in flick from the very early seventies, complete with melodramatic music, stilted acting and bright red ketchup blood galore.

    The film has its merits, sure, but Blood and Lace suffers from an atmosphere which is neither overtly indicative of the burgeoning exploitation market, nor traditional enough to be considered a minor classic of the horror/thriller genre. Director Philip Gilbert's film does serve somewhat as a precursor to the stalk-and-slash medium, however, which would rear its head a number of years later with both Bob Clark's Black Christmas and John Carpenter's Halloween.

    Indeed, the films opens with some spooky, theremin-led orchestral music as a point-of-view shot follows a messy hammer murder of a prostitute and her companion while they sleep. This scene sets up Blood and Lace quite nicely, but Gilbert's picture loses steam very early on, never regaining the tension or atmosphere captured by this excellent opening. We're introduced instead to a very pretty Melody Patterson as Ellie Masters, the orphaned daughter of said prostitute who ends up at a halfway house run by a pretty terrible twosome, played by Hollywood star Gloria Grahame and future Seinfeld star Len "Uncle Leo" Lesser.

    It's from here where we're made privy to the horrible abuse Grahame and Lesser's characters are inflicting upon the children in their care, while at the same time a masked and flannel-clad killer begins stalking the scene. This all sounds promising as heck, of course, but it's the execution of this obviously low-budget thrill effort that kills so much of the momentum with which Blood and Lace begins. Incessantly flamboyant orchestral cues fly over some obvious day-for-night photography and horned-in expository dialogue as Blood and Lace trudges on, boasting some decent performances from Patterson, Vic Tayback and Milton Selzer, but overall not leaving much of a lasting impression.

    The film's third act does redeem things a little bit, however, as we're greeted to some moody lighting and one ballsy twist ending which is surprisingly modern in its forward thinking psychology. This back end of the film alone makes Blood and Lace at least worth a cursory watch, but don't expect to be bowled over by this otherwise unassuming drive-in flick.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    Blood and Lace looks better than any film of its age probably should, so Scream Factory should be commended for taking what's obviously a B picture and giving it such a nice treatment. The colors aren't faded or scratchy, although a couple of specks do make their presence known near the film's end. The day for night scenes do look really dark, unfortunately, but what can you do, really? Blood and Lace is a product of these seventies, so there are tons of browns and muted colors here, but everything is nicely saturated, and there are no instances of DNR artifacts to be seen.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono audio is strong, although first time viewers might be thrown off by the an early scene in the film, where Patterson is dubbed by none other than the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, June Foray! The audio commentary from film historian and Turner Classic Movies man Richard Harland Smith explains this fun fact, as well as many other factoids concerning nearly every member of the cast. Smith's commentary is super interesting, informed and obviously comes from a place of love, as he rattles off the career arcs of the cast, director, producer and writer with great enthusiasm.

    The only other extras are the film's theatrical trailer and a short alternate title sequence .

    The Final Word

    Scream Factory gives Blood and Lace a fine presentation for what could ostensibly be otherwise found on any number of public domain sets; a proper home video version of a flick which likely filled American drive-ins across the country, and the mileage for which is entirely dependent upon one's tolerance of old school storytelling with the occasional bit of cheese.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 3 Comments
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      Uncle Leo?! Hello!
    1. funkvader's Avatar
      funkvader -
      Such a fun film! And June Foray's voice is instantly recognizable. The music is overbearing in the extreme.