Maniacal Miller makes a bad 'Bordello'

August 16, 1996|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC

If it were merely vulgar kitsch, then "Tales from the Crypt presents 'Bordello of Blood'" could be dismissed without much energy. Another bad movie with Dennis Miller? So what else is new?

Well, there is something disturbingly new in "Bordello of Blood" perhaps worthy of contempt. In its climactic sequence, private shamus Miller breaks into the title structure and with an atomic squirt gun filled with holy water spritzes away a bunch of vampires in typically overwrought fashion.

But decode the scene -- that is, strip away the narrative encryptions and reduce it to its essence, to its source of power, to its level of glee -- and you have something far more meretricious. The scene is really about men killing defenseless nude women and having a great time at it.

The gun may squirt water and not .223 bullets, but when it hits them, they blow up in a cloud of plasma and guts or they burst into flames and run screaming from the set. And that big grin on Miller's monkey face is pure joy: He likes to kill babes. Ugh. Gave me the creeps.

As a narrative exercise, the film is quite limp. It's set up in a lame-frame story that never pays off, then segues into the annoying Crypt-Keeper puppet (Howdy Doody could kick his butt!) and finally gets to the story proper. In it, Miller, so annoyingly smirky you want to jump into the movie and slap him around, is hired by Erika Eleniak when her brother (the annoying Corey Feldman) disappears. Miller tracks him to the inevitable funeral home that is really a bordello that is really cult headquarters for an ancient demoness Lilith (supermodel Angie Everhart) who has materialized in the modern world as a Femme Fatale.

That's about it: So Miller gets his squirt gun and kills everybody. Then he kills the demoness. Some movie. Some waste of time. Oh, the profanity. Did every sentence have to have the f-word four times? Couldn't they have cut it to two times?

'Bordello of Blood'

Starring Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak and Angie Everhart

Directed by Gilbert Adler

Released by Universal

Rated R

Sun score *

Pub Date: 8/16/96

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