Blood and Lace

Not to be confused with Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace, 1971's Blood and Lace has the posture of a stately pot-boiler.  In reality, it's a pulsing gorge of sleaze.  How seedy is this disreputable clough of chastity?  Kids, Uncle Leo of Seinfeld fame plays a hired hand who enjoys groping underage orphans.  That's the ticket.  Now that I think about it, every "mature" character in the film is a lewd scumfuck, even the detective assigned to protect our heroine.  Plot, plot, plot...who has the plot?  Ah, found it.  Ellie is routed to a seemingly high-principled crash pad for orphaned teens following the brutal murder of her whore mother.  Calm down, friend; I'm not making a judgment call.  She was a prostitute, and Ellie's father...well, he could be anyone.

Ellie keeps having lurid nightmares that depict Mommy being bludgeoned by a hammer-wielding maniac, and she fears that she might be the next pretty blonde to meet her maker.  Lace bears the title (and one-sheet, for that matter) of a giallo, but it exercises slasher tropes that wouldn't become slasher tropes for another decade.  Stop me if you've heard this one before; we start from the point of view of the killer.  We quietly enter a house.  We open a kitchen drawer and pull out a weapon.  We find a sleeping female, topless (the goods are concealed, I'm afraid).  We kill the bitch.  We also kill the asshole next to the bitch, but that's impertinent information.

Could it be that director Philip S. Gilbert was ahead of the curve?  Granted, Lace doesn't possess the operose menace of Halloween, but you have to give credit where it's due.  The script was scribed by Gil Lasky.  Again, my brow is furrowed, as Lasky co-produced 1967's Spider Baby.  That was Jack Hill's pet project, yes, but it was a major influence on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I thought it was just interesting enough to mention.  Maybe it wasn't.  Nevertheless, this flick propels itself forward on the shoulders of scuzzy villains and controlled pacing (I'm fairly confident that pacing has shoulders...shut up).  I wasn't bored for a solitary second.  1950's screen siren Gloria Grahame is goddamn captivating as the demented Mrs. Deere.

Across the board, the acting is on the up-and-up.  But of course, Lace isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Several story nuggets are hard to swallow, and I needed more protagonists to get behind.  As I professed earlier, the sets are littered with douchebags.  How is it that every man in this town wants to fuck a 16-year-old?  Yecch.  Sure, the actresses are tempting, but they're clearly adults.  Blood and Lace is capped off with a perverse twist ending that reaffirms its deviance.  I dug it.  If you can find this puppy on DVD, swoop down and grab that blackjack.  It's extremely rare.  Hell, it wasn't made available on VHS in North America!  What kind of bullshit is that???  Robert Z'Dar says, "I could never date a teenager.  Their chins aren't fully developed yet."

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