‘Shock after shock after shock as Desire drives a bargain with Death!’
Blood and Lace is a 1971 American horror thriller feature film directed by Philip Gilbert from a screenplay written by co-producer Gil Lasky (Spider Baby; The Night God Screamed). Co-producer Ed Carlin also handled The Evil (1978) and Superstition (1982).
The movie stars Gloria Grahame, Melody Patterson, Len Lesser, Vic Tayback and Milton Selzer.
After her prostitute mother and her client are beaten to death while they are asleep in bed, teenager Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs Deere and her handyman.
Taking an avid interest in her welfare is detective Calvin Carruthers. Taking almost no interest at all is social worker Harold Mullins who is completely under Mrs Deere’s thumb.
A number of unpleasant surprises are in store for Ellie, not the least of which is the fact that Mrs Deere and her handyman are both brutal sadists, who run the orphanage like a concentration camp and the strong possibility that her mother’s hammer-wielding killer is now stalking her…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“Amateurish yet decently budgeted, it’s all sunshine, sloppy edits […] and ill-suited orchestral bomps (good stuff) backed up against a 30 minute midriff of talking heads and rehashed details (not so good stuff).” Bleeding Skull!
“Entertainingly awful, this kitschy horror picture combines abuse at a home for wayward girls with a serial-killer storyline to create a stew of intrigue, murder, and sex. As a result, the movie’s not boring, per se, but it’s meandering, tonally inconsistent, and underdeveloped.” Every ’70s Movie
“The performances of the adults aren’t bad (Gloria Grahame’s is quite interesting, as a matter of fact), and familiar faces abound; you’ll recognize Milton Selzer, Len Lesser and Vic Tayback. The performances of the juveniles are less so, but it’s really the listless direction that drags the movie down.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“Blood and Lace is one helluva fun movie. It’s got unintentional humour, high camp, a teenage cat fight, a few lashings of gore and a bucketful of sleaze. It’s hard to believe that little kids would have been allowed to sit through this twisted tale…” Hysteria Lives!
“Of course, Blood and Lace is not for everybody. It’s acting is amateurish in spots, the story and the character’s behavior push credibility often and the whole business is drive-in trashy. The soundtrack, which comes across as random records being played, is the biggest drawback…” Kindertrauma
“There’s a good deal of blood and a minimum of logic, or lace for that matter, in Blood and Lace […] to illustrate, we assume, that horror can be both vague and silly. Exposed also are Gloria Grahame and a clutch of decidedly lesser-known performers in a low-grade exercise in shadows, screams, traumas and slayings that are largely more laughable than shocking.” The New York Times, 1971
“This was penned by Gil Lasky, who wrote a few dodgy screenplays around this time though this was the most notorious, and with good reason: it’s safe to say that everyone in this film is a nutter in some form or another, and part of the reason it compels is you don’t know how far it will go. PG!” The Spinning Image
“Blood and Lace kicks off with a dynamite double murder. The POV shots of the hammer in this opening sequence are eerie and effective. Too bad director Philip Gilbert couldn’t do anything to jazz up the slow and uninvolving second act. At least the cinematography is crisp, and the film looks great throughout.” The Video Vacuum
“I didn’t ask to come to your crummy hospital!”
“All girls tease Bunch, it’s just part of the equipment.”
“Well, evil breeds evil, honey.”
Cast and characters:
- Gloria Grahame as Mrs Deere – Mansion of the Doomed; The Nesting
- Melody Patterson as Ellie Masters
- Milton Selzer as Mr Mullins
- Len Lesser as Tom Kredge – Ruby; Grandmother’s House
- Vic Tayback as Calvin Carruthers –Tales from the Darkside; Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers
- Terri Messina as Bunch
- Ronald Taft as Walter
- Dennis Christopher as Pete
- Peter Armstrong as Ernest
- Maggie Corey as Jennifer
- Mary Strawberry as Nurse
- Louise Sherrill as Edna Masters
- Joe Durkin as Unidentified Man
Blood and Lace was released in March 1971 by American International Pictures (AIP) with a ‘GP’ rating.
Image credit: Wrong Side of the Art!