Blood and Lace (1971)

Article #1748 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-27-2005
Posting Date: 5-26-2006
Directed by Philip S. Gilbert
Featuring Gloria Grahame, Milton Selzer, Len Lesser

A girl whose mother was killed by a murderer using a hammer is sent to an orphanage. There she has to deal with her nightmares (about an ugly hammer-wielding maniac), her dictatorial headmistress (who keeps dead bodies in her cellar) and the brutal handyman.

“The Psychotronic Film Guide” says that this movie is one of the sickest to ever receive a PG rating (or GP, as it was known as the time). And when it lists the various sick elements of the movie, it has a definite point to make; this movie has a wealth of disturbing elements about it. So how did it end up with its mild rating? I can only attribute this to the fact that, despite all the horrible happenings, the movie seems to project an attitude that I can only describe as blase and slightly bored. It’s a bizarre attitude for a horror movie, and it might have worked if the movie had also aspired to being a comedy, but as far as I can tell, it’s supposed to be taken straight. This probably goes a ways towards explaining why this remains director Philip S. Gilbert’s sole credit. 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. Don’t confuse this one with a Mario Bava movie with a similar title.

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