Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Blood And Lace (1971)

 Philip Gilbert

WRITER: Gil Lasky


Gloria Grahame
Melody Patterson
Vic Tayback
Milton Selzer
Len Lesser
Terri Messina
Ronald Taft
Dennis Christopher
Peter Armstrong
Maggie Corey


When Ellie Masters prostitute mother and her male companion are brutally murdered with a hammer, and the crime scene is set on fire. Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage which is run be Ms. Deere and a handyman. Soon Ellie will realise that Ms. Deere and the handyman are much eviler than she had anticipated and escaping this isolated mansion may be harder than she thought. There is also a hammer-wielding maniac terrorising the orphanage.

After watching Blood And Lace, I decided to do a little research on the film. When the movie was released, it had a rating of GP. This rating was GP for All Ages Admitted. It was only suggested that Parental Guidance was needed to see the movie. This means that even pre-teens in the seventies had the option to get in and see Blood And Lace. You know, I could totally understand this rating if this movie wasn't so messed up. As even one viewer on IMDb has stated, this may be the sickest movie ever slapped with a GP rating.

The movie opens with a scene that is shot from the 'Killers POV'. We witness the killer creeping around a massive house. The killer opens a drawer and takes out a hammer where he then moves into a bedroom where a woman and man are asleep in bed. We suddenly see that the hammer is raised and then the weapon is repeatedly slammed into the face and skulls of both of the victims. It's an incredibly gruesome and violent scene by seventies standards. This scene alone should've been enough to secure this movie an R rating.

Peeping Tom from 1960 is considered to be the first ever slasher. I think this is pretty debatable depending on which horror fanatic you talk to, though. Many have claimed that both Black Christmas or John Carpenter's masterpiece Halloween are actually the slashers that caused the next fifteen years of countless slasher movies and franchises to boom. I would usually say that Halloween influenced a lot of those films. Blood And Lace, however, was released seven years before Halloween. So I believe that maybe Blood And Lace was inspired by Peeping Tom with it's Killer POV opening scene.

After the opening scene, Blood And Lace becomes a campy and trashy little film. Our final girl, Ellie Masters, is one sassy young heroine. She back talks the owners of the orphanage, she hits on other girls boyfriends, she gets into fights with other females, and she even calls out her own dead mother for being what some would call a whore. Some of the dialogue that she delivers had me rolling on the floor laughing. It's just so cheesy at times. I'm surprised more people didn't protest this movie for merely having a strong leading horror heroine who can take a few slaps.

The movie over the course of it's running time touches on some pretty dark subjects. Not only is the owner of the orphanage a child killer, but she is also mentally unstable and talks to her dead husband who is propped in a chair in the basement. This reveal feels very inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The first time we see the handyman who is also a partner in this isolated orphanage is shown chasing down a teenage boy through the woods and cuts his hand off with a meat cleaver. This movie doesn't shy away from killing children and teenagers.

What also makes Blood And Lace extremely twisted is the fact that the detective in the story is sexually attracted to the young female lead. He even says she'd make fine breeding stock. The detective and doctor who play her protectors in a way also routinely talk about how banging her dead mother was a lot of fun. It's all just very awkward and uncomfortable to watch. When you expect that these two elderly men will protect her but they instead openly talk about wanting to shag her, it just adds to this already sleazy little slasher.

It's hard not to explain how twisted this movie is without ruining the ending. So sorry readers, I will be talking about the twist in this review. [SPOILERS]: So the film ends with our hammer-wielding killer being revealed as Ellie Masters. She was the one who killed her mother and her client. The detective has also been running around dressed as the hammer-wielding killer who looks very similar to Freddy Krueger with his red and green striped sweater and burnt face. The reveal ends with the detective trying to blackmail Ellie into marrying him and then it's revealed that he's also her father. The film ends on this really incestual moment. You need to watch this movie just to see how weird and strange the film turns out.

Lastly, where Blood And Lace has problems is that the makeup and gore effects are terrible. You can clearly see that this movie was done on a smaller budget. A lot of the death scenes or gore are those shots of the weapon already being there, and the quick cut just shows the aftermath. The movie also has a lot of elements that make you question how dumb the teenagers and children are in this orphanage. There are dead bodies that are thawing out in the infirmary, yet when the doctor comes to the orphanage he can't smell them? Or the kids seeing the handyman carrying around bodies wrapped in bloody blankets yet they still don't know other kids are being killed? You have to really suspend disbelief.



- A man and lady are repeatedly hit with the claw of a hammer.
- A woman is set on fire.
- A dead body is shown in the basement.
- Someone is hit in the back with a meat cleaver.
- Someone is hit in the head with a hammer.
- A teenage boy has his hand cut off with a meat cleaver.
- Three dead children are taken out of a freezer to thaw out.
- Blood is seen trickling from a dead child's neck.
- A girl is shown to be tied up in an attic and suffering from dehydration.
- A teenage boy's body is found in the woods.
- Someone finds a severed hand.

Blood And Lace has to be seen to be believed. An early prototype slasher that was out there before both Black Christmas and Halloween. I can see a lot of elements in this film that may have inspired Wes Craven or John Carpenter. This is a twisted, sleazy, and camp little slasher that while not perfect, deserves a watch. The most shocking element of the film still happens to be that the movie was rated GP at the time yet involves child killing, themes of incest, and even elderly men sexually preying on young girls. Awkward and uncomfortable filmmaking at it's finest.

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