Beyond the Slimy Wall: Bordello of Blood

By Stephanie Star Smith

February 3, 2005

That's a man, baby!

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We here at BOP are an eclectic group, and our tastes in movies run from the serious cinephiles to the foreign-film aficionados to niche film lovers. Thus was born the idea for this weekly column, devoted to horror films of all shapes and sizes, but concentrating on those B- and C-grade films that mainstream reviewers disdain, but are the bread-and-butter of every spook movie lover's viewing. So come with me as we venture beyond the slimy wall, uncovering the treasures - and burying the time-wasting bombs - that await those who dare to love the scare.

Bordello of Blood

The appeal of Bordello of Blood can pretty much be summed up in one sentence:

Vampire hookers and Super Soakers filled with holy water.

What more could you ask?

Well, OK, it likely would help to know whether the movie leading up to that wonderful sequence is going to be worth sitting through to get to the Super Soakers.

It is. And then some.

The second offering under the aegis of the HBO horror anthology Tales From the Crypt didn’t fare as well at the box office as the first, Demon Knight, which as far as I’m concerned is an injustice of...well, not monumental proportions, but a pretty big one nonetheless. Because Bordello of Blood is by far the more entertaining of the two.

Dennis Miller stars as Detective Rafe Guttman, a seedy gumshoe just barely holding on to his PI’s license because the local Chief of Police doesn’t much care for him, his methods or his clientele. Enter the beautiful Katherine Verdoux, concerned about the disappearance of her brother Caleb and frustrated that the police won’t take her seriously when she insists Caleb must be the victim of foul play, as he’d never just up and leave without a word.

And that’s all the plot you’re going to get, because to provide much more will spoil all your fun, and we can’t have that.

Bordello of Blood, like its lead character and the comedian who plays him, doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Not only is Miller’s Guttman a wise-ass of the first order - and honestly, could Dennis Miller play anything but a wise-ass? - but the script is liberally sprinkled with one-liners and intentional bits of black humor. It also provides some luscious inside jokes for fans of vampire movies through its casting; again, I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve seen most of the big vampire films of the past two decades or so, it won’t take you long to catch on. The effects are grand, and the performances uniformly excellent, including, it likely will surprise some to learn, Dennis Miller. For all that the comedian puts down his own acting talent, he really is a pretty decent actor; he plays straight when it’s needed, and gets into the humor when it presents itself. And the ending is a nice little coda as well. Plus those Super Soakers; I'm telling you, that sequence alone is worth the price of rental.

Bordello of Blood turns up fairly regularly on Comedy Central, but do yourself a favor and skip the heavily-edited TV version and get the DVD, preferably the wide-screen version. Because when those Super Soakers start doing their thing, you’ll be glad you made that little extra bit of effort.

I see by the shadows falling from my bust of Pallas that our time is up. Until next time, then, when we will once again venture Beyond the Slimy Wall.



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