Don’t judge a movie by its cover can definitely be used to describe Blood and Lace. Looking at that sweet artwork above, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking it’s going to be some bloody revenge fare, but alas, Blood and Lace is something completely different and in this case, different doesn’t mean bad, but just… well different. Read on to see what I mean…
SUBTITLES: English REGION: A RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1971 RELEASE DATE: Nov 24, 2015
She searched through the dark corridors of the unknown, only to find… the unbearable. Available for the first time on a home entertainment format, the 1971 cult favorite Blood and Lace is a twisted tale of horror frequently cited as a precursor to the slasher films of the late 70s and early 80s. After her mother’s brutal murder at the hands of a hammer-wielding maniac, teenaged Ellie Masters (Melody Patterson) is suddenly orphaned. She is sent to a home for children run by the enigmatic Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame, a 1952 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award® winner for her role in The Bad and The Beautiful), in spite of the concern that Ellie will be the newest target of her mother’s killer. But as terror strikes again and again, it becomes unclear who might be the bigger threat to Ellie’s life: the mysterious murderer with a hammer… or her sadistic new caretaker. With borderline insane plot twists, and some unexpected performances by two faces familiar to fans of classic sitcoms – Vic Tayback (“Mel” from Alice) and Len Lesser (“Uncle Leo” from Seinfeld) – this little-known horror gem is a jolting, terror-filled thriller you’ve got to see to believe.
Blood and Lace started off with a beginning that echoed Halloween, 7 years earlier. We see through the eyes of a killer, as they stalk through a house, brandishing a hammer. The killer enters a room and starts to smash away at two victims. Cut to the stunning Melody Patterson, who plays Ellie Masters, waking up from some nightmare. We find out she is the daughter of one of the victims and because she isn’t 21 yet and doesn’t know who her father is, she is going to be sent to a boarding home. From there we find out that the boarding home is run by two crazies, Len Lesser who played Uncle Leo in Seinfeld, and Gloria Grahame from It’s a Wonderful Life. Ellie wants to run away, but most of the kids that try end up dead and at the same time she is looking for a way to escape, she has to deal with being stalked by some crazy masked man wielding a hammer, but not everything is exactly as it seems and come they end, you’ll either be laughing your head off, or confused beyond belief.
First things first, Melody Patterson is drop dead gorgeous. Every time she was onscreen, she radiated beauty. It’s a damn shame she didn’t go on to do lots of other movies, as according to her IMDb page, she was in a TV series and only did a couple other small roles. In Blood and Lace, her performance is the highlight in the movie even if the movie doesn’t do a good job at developing her character enough, but instead has her just kind of screaming, being confused and running around a lot. It’s only hinted at the end that there was way more to her than meets the eye, but alas, that’s all we got.
With a name like Blood and Lace (not to be confused with the superb Blood and Black Lace), you would think the movie would have more blood, but the movie is fairly dry. There isn’t much murder to speak of and instead, we focus on the troubled lives of these teenagers and the two adults who try to cover up murder, just so they can keep the monthly cheques coming. As for the masked man running around? You get to find out about who that person really is come the end and boy, I got a good laugh out of it.
Blood and Lace isn’t a terrible movie, but it certainly isn’t worthy of being called the precursor to the slasher craze. Yes, we do get some scenes that would be better utilized in later films, but with the lack of blood and a story that strolls along at a snail’s pace, you would be fine in thinking you are watching a drama about the lives of troubled youths.
Scream Factory does a good job at giving us a solid presentation of Blood and Lace. For never being on home entertainment before, this is the perfect way of checking it out. Both audio and video are solid.
Special features are extremely limited, with a new commentary being the only thing to check out. There is an alternate opening title card that uses the title Blood and Lace, as the main presentation of the movie shows the film as being called The Blood Secret. Last, but certainly not least, is a trailer. See, small pickings.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
Alternate Opening Title
I can’t say I hated Blood and Lace, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a slasher flick. It’s got hints of the genre running through its blood, but for the most part, it’s just about two people trying to hide the bodies and keep the kids in line. The lead actress is smoking and the ending is hilarious, so it’s got that going for it and the Blu-ray from Scream Factory is looking and sounding solid. Find it for cheap and pick it up.