5.7/10
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43 user 45 critic

Blood and Lace (1971)

R | | Horror | 14 May 1971 (USA)
After her prostitute mother and her john are beaten to death while they are asleep in bed, teen-aged Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs. Deere and her handyman. ... See full summary »

Director:

Philip S. Gilbert (as Philip Gilbert)

Writer:

Gil Lasky
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gloria Grahame ... Mrs. Deere
Melody Patterson ... Ellie Masters
Milton Selzer ... Harold Mullins
Len Lesser ... Tom Kredge
Vic Tayback ... Calvin Carruthers
Terri Messina ... Bunch
Ron Taft Ron Taft ... Walter (as Ronald Taft)
Dennis Christopher ... Pete
Peter Armstrong Peter Armstrong ... Ernest
Maggie Corey Maggie Corey ... Jennifer
Mary Strawberry Mary Strawberry ... Nurse
Louise Sherrill Louise Sherrill ... Edna Masters
Joe Durkin Joe Durkin ... Unidentified Man with Edna
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Storyline

After her prostitute mother and her john are beaten to death while they are asleep in bed, teen-aged Ellie Masters is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs. Deere and her handyman. Taking an avid interest in her welfare is detective Calvin Carruthers. Taking almost no interest at all, is social worker Harold Mullins who is completely under Mrs. Deere's thumb. Lots of unpleasant surprises are in store for Ellie, not the least of which is the fact that Mrs. Deere and her handyman are both brutal sadists, who run the orphanage like a concentration camp and the strong possibility that her mother's hammer-wielding killer is now stalking her. Written by phillindholm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Unbearable Suspense and Desire drives a bargain with MURDER! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blood Secret See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Dennis Christopher. See more »

Goofs

Around 8:30 when Carruthers is following Ellie on the road his car window changes from open to closed and open again during shots. See more »

Connections

Featured in Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Little orphan Ellie
31 January 2016 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

"Blood and Lace" (not to be confused with Bava's unrelated "Blood and Black Lace," though most likely a ripoff of that title) follows teenaged orphan Ellie Masters, whose prostitute mother has been clobbered to death with a hammer alongside a john in bed. When she arrives at Mrs. Deere's bizarre foster home, however, things go from bad to worse.

An indisputable oddball of the early seventies, "Blood and Lace" has the unique character of occupying the space of both a whacked out splatter film, as well as a demented familial drama with Freud written all over it. The film opens with a double hammer murder straight out of any B-slasher flick, but while you'd anticipate the unfolding of a slasher film from thereon, the film does something of the opposite.

Instead of opting for a straightforward slasher framework (which arguably didn't even exist at the time of this film's production), the narrative runs straight into an even more morbid situation at a foster home run by a strict sadist and her hired help. What is perhaps most striking about the film is the disparity between what the opening sets out to do, and what the film actually ends up doing; there is a strange lack of synchronicity between the two, but the hybrid nature is perhaps what makes the film memorable. The bulk of the picture unravels the twisted goings-on at Mrs. Deere's orphanage, and draws sparse links between them and Ellie's ordeal, which are never entirely fleshed out, yet the film never really demands enough of the audience for it to matter.

The cinematography in the film is surprisingly lush for being such a low budget picture, and there are some great scenes focused in and around the large, eerie foster home. Melody Patterson is likable as the tortured heroine, while Hollywood classic Gloria Grahame plays the sinister Mrs. Deere remarkably well. Vic Tayback is also fantastic as the investigator with a pressing interest in Ellie's case. The film's conclusion is implicatively disgusting, and there is an absolute resistance against any happy resolutions, but this falls in tone with the rest of the film in all its cynical glory.

Overall, "Blood and Lace" is a fine piece of early seventies sleaze. It's well-shot, well-acted, and in some ways sophisticated in spite of all its morally disreputable engagements. You may be surprised to find the film landed a PG rating in 1971, which is hard to believe given the sheer amount of wickedness inflicted on the underaged. Not a perfect film, but a fine example of lurid exploitative horror from days past. 7/10.


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