Blu-ray Review: Blood and Lace

There have been certain American International Pictures titles that fans have been clamoring to see that didn’t make it out on the Midnite Movie Double Feature line or MGM’s MOD campaign. Blood and Lace was at the top of the list. Now Scream Factory has finally given viewers the murder mystery on a combo pack of Blu-ray and DVD. The film has only grown in stature thanks to two of its leads eventually becoming TV icons.

The film opens like Halloween with a POV of a killer entering a house and the murder weapon in the camera. Although unlike Halloween, this is not one shot. The hammer looms large in the frame as the killer sneaks up on a sleeping man and women in a bedroom. The killer sets the house on fire to hide all evidence. Turns out that the woman was the town hooker and the man merely her latest trick. The hooker’s daughter Ellie (F Troop‘s Melody Paterson) hasn’t a clue about her real father. She tries to runaway, but gets tracked down by Calvin Carruthers (Vic Tayback, Mel on Alice). He’s keeping an eye out for her while investigating the crime scene. Because she’s underage, she gets stuck inside a home for teenage orphans. Mrs. Deere (It’s a Wonderful Life‘s Gloria Grahame) is not a sweet and kind lady. She allows the extra creepy handyman Tom Kredge (Seinfeld‘s Len Lesser) to run the place. He has a knack for killing any kids that try to make a run for it. Ellie isn’t doing well trying to get over the trauma at the house. She’s having nightmares about the killing. She’s also fighting off Tom’s advances. She does find a fun distraction in the charming Ronald Taft. But all that gets thrown away when a creepy old bald guy in a plaid shirt keeps lurking about the place. Is this the real killer trying to nail the mother-daughter combo with his hammer?

Vic Tayback and Len Lesser rule the silver screen. Ever wonder why Jerry was a bit unnerved when Uncle Leo crossed his path on Senfield? Odds are that he always saw Len’s work on Blood and Lace before hitting the set. Len is a complex character in the murder mystery film since he does kill a few people during the film. But is he really the hammer killer or the lurker? How guilty can he be? There is a piece of strange comedy in an early scene. Melody Paterson’s voice is replaced by June Foray, the voice of Rocky the Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Leaves you to ponder if the real killer was Boris Badanov. Blood and Lace is an amazing film that leaves the audience pondering not to identity of the killer, but the identity of the innocent. The ending is solid in being as shocking as the opening scene.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The high definition transfer is immaculate. You can get itchy looking at Vic Tayback’s double knit polyester shirts. The audio is DTS-HD mono. The low budget production does its best with sound mix. The movie is subtitled.

Audio Commentary features Film historian Richard Harland Smith. He gives plenty of background including pondering if the director was using a fake name.

Alternate Opening (0:18) is the Blood and Lace titled card. The film print features the alternate title The Blood Chillers.

Theatrical Trailer (1:52) promises a lot of blood and a touch of lace. Both do get into the film.

Scream Factory presents Blood and Lace. Directed by: Philip Gilbert. Screenplay by: Gil Lasky. Starring: Gloria Grahame, Milton Selzer, Len Lesser, Vic Tayback & Melody Patterson. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 87 minutes. Released: November 24, 2015.

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