Blood and Lace (1971)
Directed by Philip S. Gilbert

Starring Gloria Grahame Melody Patterson Vic Tayback

An awesome, unjustly unavailable early '70s horror film, "Blood and Lace" was released by American International, which has seen many of its best fear flicks go out of print, possibly because of disputes over music rights.

It's one of those films that you never forget. Its unflinching portrayal of human depravity is of the kind that you only saw in film's in the early '70s.

And what's totally bizarre is that the film was rated PG at the time of its release!

This film's opening murder must have inspired John Carpenter, who filmed the first killing in "Halloween" in a similar way. The two sequences, shot point of view style, are so similar that there can be no mistake: John Carpenter saw this film before he made "Halloween."

Patterson plays an orphan whose slutty mother was murdered by a hammer-wielding maniac. Tayback (perhaps best remembered for his role on the hit TV series "Alice") plays a detective who`s investigating.

Despite law enforcement concerns that the hammer-wielding killer may be on her trail, Patterson nonetheless is sent to an orphanage that presents even greater dangers: The foster mom (Gloria Grahame) who owns it slaughters any of the juveniles who try to run away. She then freezes their bodies and tells auditors that they`re "sick," so she can continue collecting money from the state. Talk about abusing the system! When a masked, hammer-wielding killer shows up, things get even more interesting.

"Blood and Lace" is a shocking, nihilistic movie, even for our current times. I caught it on afternoon television as a youth and had trouble finding it, until I ran into an underground videotape of the cult classic. Director Gilbert never made another film, but writer Gil Lasky produced the Jack Hill cult classic "Spider Baby."

It's amazing that "Blood and Lace" became buried and that no one has attempted to resurrect it. If any horror film deserves at least some kind of release on DVD, this one is it.

Its poster art remains popular on eBay and even recently showed up as an album cover for the band Metric.

Great tagline: "SHOCK after SHOCK after SHOCK as DESIRE drives a bargain with MURDER!"

Not to be confused with the similarly titled Mario Bava film "Blood and Black Lace." Catch it if you can.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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