Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Blood and Lace (1971)

Directed by:
Philip Gilbert

If you enjoy seeing once respected actresses past their "prime" in sleazy starring roles, then seek out this sickie with the talented Gloria Grahame (co-star of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, and an Oscar winner for THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and highly impressive in many terrific film noirs of the 1950s) as the abusive Mrs. Deere. To save money at the backwoods orphanage she runs, Gloria and the sadistic handyman (Len Lesser) kill their charges and store the bodies downstairs in a padlocked walk-in freezer. Melody Patterson (Ranger Jane from the "F-Troop" TV show) looks way too old for the role of 17-year-old Ellie Masters, who's sent there after her prostitute mother and one of her tricks are killed by being whacked upside the head a few times with a hammer. The masked, facially burned sick-o responsible for that crime (who actually bears a striking resemblance to Freddy Krueger right down to the striped sweater!) and a sleazy, sex-offender police detective (Vic Tayback, best know for playing diner owner Mel on the hit TV show "Alice") show up to complicate matters. Yeah, the plot is overloaded to the max with all kinds of sick stuff and this is strictly a gutter trash exploitation movie, but Grahame (an underrated character actress if there ever was one) does a very good job in her commanding/icy role, it's fairly colorful and well photographed and there are a few surprises to the story. Not as surprising though as how this movie, with lots of brutality directed toward children (one even has his hand chopped off with an axe!), el cheapo "red paint" blood gore effects, implied rape and incest and overall bad taste, earned a PG rating.

With Milton Selzer, a young Dennis Christopher and Louise Sherrill. The film was released to video by a small label called Cinefear (who also were the only ones to release the blaxploitation possession film ABBY), but it very hard to find these days. It's also never been out on DVD, though an excellent print of the film has pop up up occasionally on cable.


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