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Blood And Lace (Blu-ray Review)

Blood-and-LaceShe searched through the dark corridors of the unknown, only to find… the unbearable. Available for the first time on a home entertainment format, the 1971 cult favorite Blood and Lace is a twisted tale of horror frequently cited as a precursor to the slasher films of the late 70s and early 80s. On November 24, 2015, the long-lost film released theatrically from American International Pictures is finally available for horror fans on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack, complete with bonus features including a brand new high definition transfer and new audio commentary with film historian Richard Harland Smith.  With borderline insane plot twists, and some unexpected performances by two faces familiar to fans of classic sitcoms – Vic Tayback (“Mel” from Alice) and Len Lesser (“Uncle Leo” from Seinfeld) –  this little-known horror gem is a jolting, terror-filled thriller you’ve got to see to believe.

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Film 

After her mother’s brutal murder at the hands of a hammer-wielding maniac, teenaged Ellie Masters is suddenly orphaned. She is sent to a home for children run by the enigmatic Mrs. Deere, in spite of the concern that Ellie will be the newest target of her mother’s killer. But as terror strikes again and again, it becomes unclear who might be the bigger threat to Ellie’s life: the mysterious murderer with a hammer…or her sadistic new caretaker.

I’m always interested when someone like Scream Factory digs something up from cinema’s past that never made it to DVD or as in today’s case, even VHS.  There are a lot of drive-in and exploitation movies that went quickly by the wayside never to be found again.  But, like Without Warning last year, rest assured, Scream Factory has now put Blood and Lace onto the Blu-ray format.  It lives on!

The print of the film used for this transfer as the title The Blood Secret, but its more commonly known for the title the box and discs read.  And don’t confuse this one with Blood and Black Lace, that’s a completely different (And better) film.  This one does share the fact that its a sorta proto-slasher film.  Its not fully there, but it features many common elements.  Instantly you’ll notice a POV shot from a killer with a hammer.  You also get a masked murdering stalking who intermittently appears throughout the film.  And yeah, the film has some deaths that were pretty gory for the time.

This one sports most notable Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo.  And this is something you should probably see him in.  He is quite the creeper here and a bit crazy.  The man throws a meat cleaver and chops off a kids hand.  That’s pretty cool.  Caching my eye though, was Melody Patterson from F Troop.  I dunno if its the hair, the eyes or the clothes she wears, but man is she a looker here.  But, like most of the cast, she’s hilariously miscast.  We have a group of teenagers that look like they are in their mid to late 20s.  I found myself getting a good chuckle when it was revealed that she was a minor.

Blood and Lace is all right.  If you’re a enthusiast on slasher films and their history, this is one of those proto ones that is a fun exercise to check out.  I’m not sure if it holds much more value than that, but its solid enough and one you may pick up and try again from time to time.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  For being as old and lost a film as this is, it looks pretty good.  There is a clarity to it that may have come with some DNR, but it still looks clean and fresh.  Detail is pretty solid and impressive in some well lit sequences.

Depth:  Depth is decent.  The image isn’t popping right off the screen, but it has some solid spacing and the like.

Black Levels:  Blacks are decent here.  The lesser the lighting situation in a scene, the more grain hits.  Detail on hair and clothing is okay when colored black.  No crushing seen.

Color Reproduction:  Colors take on a natural appearance.  They are bold and hold strong throughout.  Blood looks kind of like that Italian paint look.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones look very natural and maintain consistency throughout.  Close-ups reveal moles, stubble and wrinkles.

Noise/Artifacts: Features some light grain, specs and dirt.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This one sounds pretty good for its age and gets the job done.  Its a tad score heavy in the balancing of the mix, but its not distracting at all.  This one sounds pretty good, its not going to wow or be the greatest ever, but its really solid.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and gets itself across in a good polished analog manner.  Early on it looks like a portion is dubbed.

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Extras 

Blood and Lace comes with a DVD copy of the film and has reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design.

Audio Commentary

  • By Film Historian Richard Harland Smith

Alternate Opening Title (SD, :18)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:52) 

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Summary 

Blood and Lace is an interesting little proto-slasher that keeps its mystery and weirdness going at all times to make it wholly watchable for its short runtime.  To me, its always a feat when something that’s never been made available to home video finally surfaces.  Scream Factory’s Blu-ray has a very good presentation.  It even sports some solid extras.  If you’re a fan of horror history or just collect, this isn’t a bad pick up for the right price.  Plus, Melody Patterson looks really good on Blu-ray.  Just sayin’ 🙂

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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