Film review: Tales From the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 1996 12:00 a.m. MDT

For a horror-comedy film to work, it's got to be both funny and scary. "Tales From the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood" is neither. Instead, it's only a bath of blood and bare skin, with some lame wisecracks thrown in for bad measure.

Perhaps the most telling moment in this splatterfest occurs when hero Dennis Miller turns to another character and says, "I feel like I'm in a bad `Tales From the Crypt' episode." Hey, Dennis, you're in a really bad "Tales From the Crypt" movie, and if you're lucky, this stinker won't hammer a stake through your movie career.

This second of three planned "Tales From the Crypt" movies (after last year's "Demon Knight") stars Miller as Rafe Guttman, a down-and-out private detective hired by Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak), a born-again Christian who's searching for her missing brother, Caleb.

As it turns out, the rebellious Caleb (Corey Feldman) and a friend have gone to "The Bordello of Blood," a brothel hidden in a nearby mortuary. Vampire maven Lilith (supermodel Angie Everhart) and undead prostitutes of this best little "gorehouse" have put the chomp on the duo and some other unsuspecting victims.

While Guttman has finally uncovered the real goings-on, Lilith has kidnapped Katherine, so it's up to him and disgraced Reverend James Current (Chris Sarandon) — who has been privy to what's actually been going on — to rescue her and destroy Lilith's quickly growing legions of bloodsuckers, armed only with water pistols filled with holy water.

Part of the problem — one of many — is that so much of this has been done before, such as the water pistol bit (swiped from "From Dusk Till Dawn"). Then there's the fact that Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis' treatment was written eight years ago, which accounts for the dated televangelist swipes and several other ancient gags.

Of course it helps that director Gilbert Adler, who also co-wrote the final script, lingers on the really gory and gruesome makeup effects and the ample female flesh. It seems like he was out to compete with "From Dusk Till Dawn" for the number of exploding dead bodies rather than telling a decent story.

He also drops two tantalizing subplots in midstream — we're never told the whole reason why Lilith won't kill Guttman or the significance of "The Key" (which is evidently the same "key" from "Demon Knight").

In her first starring role, Everhart is OK. But the more experienced actors, even Miller, don't seem too inspired. He delivers most of his lines in a lazy manner that suggests that even he was bored with this whole mess.

"Bordello of Blood" is rated R for considerable violence — much of it graphic — gore, nudity, profanity, sex and an extremely vulgar and nauseating necrophilia bit.