Blood and Lace (1971) Poster

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Blood and sleaze
Cujo10826 September 2012
After her whore of a mother is murdered by a hammer-wielding nutjob, teen Ellie Masters is sent to live at the rural Deere Orphanage. She immediately begins plotting her getaway, as she wishes to track down the father she never knew. What she doesn't realize is that Mrs. Deere and her handyman, Tom Kredge, won't let anyone leave under any circumstances. If it comes down to murder, so be it. As she deals with this sadistic twosome, Ellie also realizes that she's being stalked by a masked creep with a claw hammer.

Often referred to as the sickest PG film ever, I had wanted to see this for years. After finally happening upon a VHS copy, I was disappointed when I quickly came to the realization that it was a cut print. The opening hammer murder wasn't as explicit as I'd heard, and the scene where Bunch seduces Walter in the barn was really chopped up. Thankfully, not only does the print on Netflix look incredible, but it's also fully intact. This is such a great, truly warped little nasty. The twists just keep on coming, getting sicker and more twisted as the film progresses. The ending is a real kick in the balls.

Gloria Grahame and Len Lesser own the film as the pair of crazies who will get those welfare checks at any cost. Melody Patterson is an arrogant bitch as Ellie, so I never felt much sympathy for her. Vic Tayback is the perverted detective who takes more than a passing interest in Ellie's predicament. His character made my skin crawl.

"Blood and Lace" is pure, untarnished nihilism on film. There's nary a sympathetic character in sight as the sleaze and melodrama run rampant. One also has to wonder if Wes Craven was inspired by this film's masked freak when he came up with the look of Freddy Krueger. The only thing I don't care for here is the music. It's overwrought in several places where something more subdued would have added to the overall effect. This is a gem that deserves a stronger reputation.
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Terror Strikes Again And Again!
phillindholm25 July 2005
"Blood And Lace" is best described as a demented "Grimm Fairy Tale". After her prostitute mother is murdered, teen aged Ellie Masters (Melody Patterson) is sent to an isolated orphanage run by Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame) and her handyman (Len Lesser, now known as Uncle Lou on "Seinfeld"). Taking an avid interest in her welfare is detective Calvin Carruthers (Vic Tayback, Mel from the "Alice" TV series). Taking almost no interest at all, is social worker Harold Mullins (Milton Selzer) who is completely under Mrs. Deere's thumb, or, as Lesser puts it "under her skirt". Lots of unpleasant surprises are in store for Our Heroine, 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. The film shows it's obviously low budget only too well, but it really doesn't matter. The script is very clever, Grahame is excellent as usual, and Patterson (of TV's "F Troop" fame), is appealing. The supporting players are all good, including a young Dennis Christopher, as one of the "inmates". Definitely ahead of it's time, "Blood And Lace" holds up remarkably well.
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Orphaned teen discovers horrible goings-on at an isolated foster home.
thomandybish31 December 2000
A textbook example of the "so bad it's good" B horror movie that, unfortunately, shows up less and less in video stores and on cable. "Blood And Lace" concerns Ellie, the teenaged daughter of the town prostitute. When Ellie's mother is murdered with a hammer by a john, the teen is sent to an isolated group foster home presided over by psycho housemother Gloria Grahame and sadistic handyman Len Lesser. Escorted by sympathetic sheriff Vic Tayback, Ellie arrives at the home and soon realizes that all is not well. Not only does she believe that her mother's murderer is stalking her at the home, but she also discovers that Grahame metes out horribly cruel arbitary punishments--and worse--to the teens who get on her bad side(watch for the disturbing scene in which Grahame torments a hapless girl who is tied up in the attic for not folding her dinner napkin(!))It all ends in a shocking denouement in which virtually all the main characters' secrets are revealed--and not just old Gloria Grahame is revealed as a sicko! I first saw this flick on TV about 15 years ago on a local independant station out of eastern Tennessee on a late-night horror show. I missed the first few minutes with the titles and murder of Ellie's mom, so for a while I went around with the memory of this warped mind-melter in my skull and no title. I found it out a few years ago when I purchased a compilation tape of horror movie trailers from Something Weird video(why can't they re-release this sucker on tape? It's right up their alley!). There's so much to love about this film . . . it should be in the top ten of every lover of bad movies! A delectable blend of pyschodrama, bad acting, and gratuitous violence--a lost gem! Hard to believe that it got a GP rating, which at the time was the equivalent of PG. This rating was probably due to the lack of sex and language, but all the murder, dismemberment, and sadistic torture of the teen orphans should have merited and R. Still, it's a sick delight. Catch it if you get the chance. Another weird flick from that era and genre is "The Baby", which is readily available on video. This one concerns a social worker concerned about one of her cases, an adult man who wears diapers, lives in a playpen, and is treated like a baby--literally--by his boozy, harpie mother and kinky adult sisters! Things get creepy when the idealistic social worker plots to kidnap "Baby" and save him from his freaky family! And believe me, you won't see the ending coming! Watch both if you get the chance!
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Creepy and Weird
H Lime-28 August 1999
This is a weird and rather gruesome horror film from the early 1970's. Melody Patterson's mother, a prostitute, is murdered in bed with one of her customers. Melody is sent to live at an orphanage run by the great Gloria Grahame where something very strange is going on. She has to contend with the possibility that the murderer is coming after her and the fact that the people running the orphanage are covering up mistreatment of their charges as well as other, worse things.

The scare scenes in the film are effective, especially the opening scene of the hammer murder of the mother. The film is helped along by the presence of a number of familiar faces, including, in addition to Melody Patterson and Gloria Grahame, Vic Tayback as a policeman, Len Lesser as the orphanage's handyman (he's very handy), and Milton Selzer as the orphanage inspector. The film also has a sense of humor about itself and you will find a couple of (intended) chuckles.

The film is topped by a weird "twist" ending that you will never see coming. In all, this is a very entertaining 70's horror flick and shouldn't be missed if you get the chance to see it.
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Ahead of its time
lazarillo16 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Not to be confused with the Mario Bava film "Blood and Black Lace", this is a low-budget, all-American horror effort that is mostly forgotten now, but was quite ahead of its time back in 1970. It starts out with a brutal double murder with the nasty end of a claw hammer in a scene which predates "Halloween" and "Black Christmas" in its use of the killer's POV shot, and it ends with a twisted incestual revelation that predates the infamous "my sister/my daughter" scene in "Chinatown". Most of the action takes place in a brutally run orphanage where anyone who tries to escape meets a very ugly end. The movie has the flavor of a WIP film minus the lesbian sex and shower scenes (although this is one of those strange orphanages that seems to cater almost exclusively to sexy and very mature-looking teenage girls). Gloria Grahame, most famous for playing a prostitute who gets her face scalded by coffee in the 1950's noir "The Big Heat", is the cruel head of the orphanage. Melody Patterson is the lead and probably the world's oldest-looking orphan. "Mel" from "Alice" and "Uncle Leo"from "Seinfeld" also both appear--proving once and for all that they are NOT the same person. Not a very good movie perhaps, but worth watching for curiosity value
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sangue7 August 2001
Blood And Lace is a great old-fashioned horror flick, which manages some campy laughs as well as some real scares.

shot in lurid, eye-poping colors, not unlike the films of HG Lewis, and stuffed with some nasty gore scenes and unhealthy references to prostitution and pedophilia. belive it or not, all in a GP (todays equivilent of PG) rated movie.

look for early roles from "Alice" star Vic Tayback as a sleazy detective, and a hilariously over-the-top performance from Len Lesser as the creepy scumball handyman...all the funnier because Len Lesser went on to play Jerry's uncle Leo on "Seinfield!"

if you're in the mood for a good old style horror flick, you can't go wrong with this one.
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Campy Drive-In Greatness
angelakenney-5298211 July 2019
It's hard to imagine that a film as twisted and perverted as Blood and Lace managed to get a GP rating at the time (a 70's equivalent of a PG). It might not be the goriest movie of all time, but there's definitely some blood on display and the entire story itself isn't one for the kiddos.

A teenager is orphaned after someone murders her mother with a hammer (in a POV scene that looks a lot like the openings of both Black Christmas and Halloween) and sets the house on fire. She ends up being sent to a home for older orphans that's run by a shifty middle aged woman who's only in it for the money. There's also a weird cop and a creepy handyman who goes around with a weird mask and hammer and kills any kids who try to escape.

Blood and Lace is pure melodramatic garbage and it seems to be pretty aware of this and everyone looks like they're having a blast. Former big screen goddess Gloria Grahame chews the scenery as the wicked headmistress of the orphanage and Alice's Vic Talback gets a juicy role as a cop.
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"Well, evil breeds evil, Ellie."
Hey_Sweden18 December 2015
"The Baby" from 1973 kind of takes the cake for the most twisted movie to ever get a PG rating (that this viewer has seen, anyway). But "Blood and Lace" would have to rank as a strong contender for that title. Its final revelations elevate it (or lower it, depending on your sensibilities) to something truly special.

It can boast a stylish opening murder set piece. Done mostly from the killers' perspective (with some cuts here and there), it actually predates sequences from both "Black Christmas" and "Halloween". It's got a cast of familiar faces, with the lovely Melody Patterson of 'F Troop' starring, screen legend / Oscar winner Gloria Grahame as a nasty antagonist, Len Lesser (Uncle Leo from 'Seinfeld') as her handyman / henchman, Vic Tayback (Mel from 'Alice') as police detective Calvin Carruthers, and TV veteran Milton Selzer as a social worker.

Ellie Masters (Patterson) is a teen whose mother, the extremely busy town whore, is murdered along with one of her johns. So Ellie is shipped off by Mr. Mullins (Selzer) to an orphanage, a den of corruption where uncooperative kids meet cruel fates. And not only will Ellie yearn to escape, she'll fall in lust with hunky resident Walter (Ronald Taft, "Night of the Witches"), compete with Lolita-like character Bunch (Terri Messina, "Single Room Furnished"), and a mysterious goon in a hideous mask will prowl around the premises.

Some buffs may cringe seeing Ms. Grahame in this kind of exploitation fare, but she does a solid job. Lesser, Tayback, and Selzer are all good as well. Patterson and Messina, despite clearly being substantially older than their characters, are appealing. That's a young Dennis Christopher ("Breaking Away", "Django Unchained") as orphanage resident Pete, and none other than June Foray can be heard as the voice of Ellie in her first scene in the hospital.

Strikingly violent, definitely melodramatic, and offbeat enough to be amusing, "Blood and Lace" is a shocker that ought to satisfy curiosity seekers.

Seven out of 10.
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famous Halloween opening shot done here first
HEFILM7 April 2006
Yes the "original" idea that opens Halloween has to come from on of the opening shots of this film. It's a hammer being carried through the house instead of a knife but it's very very close.

That said Halloween is a much better movie, which goes almost without saying. But this does have a lurid feeling and a warped ending. It's that modest to low budget grunge of the 70's that oozes sleaze and danger.

Unfortunately the plot here borrows from obvious sources as it goes along which dampens the more original aspects. Tayback fans from his nice guy TV star role will be shocked, or may want to be by seeing him here.

Still warts and all this film has its memorable moments especially for fans of the era.
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Cheap...but SHOCKING!
Coventry12 December 2006
This odd and twisted 70's exploitation gem is incredibly hard to find these days, but definitely worth tracking down in case you're a fan of low-budget horror stuff that pioneered in shocking themes and abrupt plot twists. "Blood and Lace" was extremely ahead of its time back in 1971, with its story lines about child-abuse inside the walls of an orphanage, POV murder-sequences and incestuous relationships. The film is also quite explicit, as it displays – albeit with cheap make-up effects – the brutal murder of a sleeping couple with the sharp end of a hammer! And this right at the beginning of the film, so how's that for an intro? The woman who gets murdered is the prostitute-mother of the young and beautiful Ellie Masters. Since she never knew her real father, Ellie is sent to an orphanage ran by the corrupt Mrs. Deere and her sadistic handyman Tom. They have the nasty habit of torturing disobedient residents and even killing the ones that try to run away before storing their bodies in the basement freezer. If that isn't enough yet, there's a horribly deformed killing lurking around the orphanage with a meat cleaver. A police inspector whose interest in her is more than just professional closely follows Ellie's every move and proposes a strange offer in exchange for her rescue… "Blood & Lace" benefices from an incredibly creepy atmosphere and the overall nihilistic tone often makes the film very disturbing. This is a genuine American drive-in exploitation flick, so you can expect the most offensive and politically incorrect situations imaginable! The acting performances also contribute a great deal to the film's power. Particularly Gloria Grahame (as Mrs. Deere) and Len Lesser (Tom) portray nightmarish characters you certainly don't want to interfere with. Naturally, the budget was far too low for one-time director Philip Gilbert to play with imaginative camera angles or visual tricks, but that's okay, since "Blood and Lace" purely relies on shocks and cruelty. You won't believe your eyes and ears on more than just one occasion! Highly recommended super B-trash of the seventies!
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Where to find this DVD
eileenh0612 March 2008
I am a huge fan of this movie. I loved it as a kid when I first watched it with my older sister and I just wanted to let other fans who want to buy this movie know that I was able to find this at which specializes in rare, obscure movies. High quality DVD and great price. I haven't seen this movie in over 20 years and it is even better than I remember, sick story, low budget and all. This movie has everything I love in a B budget horror flick, including twisted content, interesting actors (who doesn't love Mel from Alice and Uncle Leo?), surprise ending and nostalgia. Love it!! Buy this DVD and you will not be disappointed. I am passing this one to all my friends because such a great movie needs to stay around.
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Top candidate for most twisted PG-rated horror film ever!
capkronos15 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you enjoy seeing once respected actresses past their "prime" in sleazy roles, then seek out this sickie with Gloria Grahame (co-star of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, an Oscar winner for THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and highly impressive in several notable film noirs) as the abusive Mrs. Deere. To save money at the orphanage she runs, Gloria and the sadistic handyman (Len Lesser) kill their charges and store the bodies downstairs in a padlocked walk-in freezer. Melody Patterson (Ranger Jane from the "F-Troop" TV show) looks way too old for the role of 17-year-old Ellie Masters, who's sent there after her parents are killed by being whacked upside the head a few times with a hammer. The masked sick-o responsible for that crime and a sex-offender detective (Vic Tayback) show up to complicate matters.

Yeah, the plot is overloaded to the max with all kinds of sick stuff and this is strictly a gutter trash exploitation movie, but Grahame (an underrated character actress if there ever was one) is good, it's fairly colorful and well photographed and there are a few surprises to the story. Not as surprising though as how this movie, with lots of brutality directed toward children (one even has his hand chopped off with an axe!), implied rape and incest and overall bad taste, earned a PG rating.
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So many secrets are out there....
GOWBTW11 April 2019
Someone has killed her mother, and set fire to her house. Ellie is later sent to an orphanage where there are more sinister things going on in there. Ellie(Melody Patterson) is very troubled because her mother is a prostitute and the man who was with her is one of her "johns". The murder weapon is a hammer. In the orphanage, it's no better. Most of the orphans there tends to run away, most of them don't even make it out. One orphan decided to run away. Only to lose his hand. And more. At the orphanage, Ellie meets Bunch(Terri Messina), who became a rival of Ellie. Since Ellie is older, she would take interest in Walter, Mrs. Deere's helper. Most orphanages are usually helpful for the children. This one is another story. The case worker would send a detective named Calvin Carruthers(Vic Tayback) to check on Ellie. Since he's closer to her than anyone else, it would make him her guardian angel. Since there are only a few deadly weapons in the film. A hammer and a cleaver. This movie was more fun than a letdown. This is a low budget horror movie, but it was made very effective for the viewers. 2 out of 5 stars.
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Not as bad or as good as some say....
HUXLEYedwards10 December 2018
I give this a solid 7. Didn't see the film until it was released on BLURAY.

The print I saw was excellent, with decent sound. I have read various reviews all over the place.

For a movie supposedly made for $200,000 USD 1971 ($1,238,814.07 today) it is a stellar showcase of both creativity and using well held traditional production techniques, mixed in with really off the wall but effective tricks, some taken from other movies, some movies taken from this. The sound effects aren't as cheesy in most cases as I assumed since taken from older libraries, the crickets loop at the start were probably the most heard effect ever, have heard that in TV shows, movies and cartoons. The opening title , credits is a classic gothic german font, kinda cool. I was unfamiliar with Wranger Jane, but knowing the story of her career, this appears to be a bad turn in her history, degraded her. She is a presence on screen, but no match for someone like Vic Tayback (Calvin). The lighting at times is very flattering to her, and sometimes terrible. Her character's (Ellie Masters) entire back story is basically tragedy. I was surprised again with some production details like quality , but basic camera work, showing they probably hired union guys who have done a million TV shows. This does not look rookie, just lower budget. The actors chosen are great and are what hold this interesting 'prototype' slasher film together, but I find it more psychological than slasher.
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PLEASE release a DVD with commentaries before everybody's dead!!!!
wildpeace1010 October 2007
This was a film that made a lot of it's publicity on the fact that it featured brutal hammer murders and that the film was rated GP which was like PG at the time.

After seeing the murders, you really have a hard time thinking that anyone could give this anything but an R!!

I've tried to find information about this that could put some light on the matter like perhaps a tamer cut was shown to the rating board and than another version was released... but i never did find such information.

I guess a DVD with features and commentaries would be really welcomed.....PLEASE before everybody involved with this film is DEAD!!!!!

Anyway,first comes the murders....than comes about 20 minutes of dull time but after that, the whole thing becomes really interesting.

i'm only giving it a 5 because i dislike gore and it lacks sex appeal but i liked most of it... the suspense,the mystery and the surprise revelations at the end.The film doesn't contain any nudity even though it touches on subjects such as attempted rape or doesn't contain any real bad language either unless you are offended by words like hell or bitch!!
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Little orphan Ellie
drownnnsoda31 January 2016
"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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One of the most graphic American horror films of the seventies.
chadledwards3 February 2002
Melody Patterson(better known as "Wrangler Jane" on TV's "F Troop") plays a young girl whose prostitute-mother is brutally murdered. Patterson's problems go from bad to worse when she is sent to an orphanage where the superintendent(Gloria Grahame, who's excellent) has her handyman(Len Lesser) murder those of her charges who try to run away. Remarkably brutal and unrelenting for its time, BLOOD AND LACE has been called one of the sickest PG-rated movies ever made and that it is, but I loved it anyway! A must for the horror film fanatic but all others are warned to stay away.
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This was rated GP, actually. No that isn't a typo.
haildevilman27 June 2006
Rated GP, that's right. What we now call PG. But you knew that.

A sick little PG as well.

Boarding house for wayward girls and of course the Madam has a dirty little secret or three.

Gloria Grahame was the best actor here. When I found out later she was a previous Oscar winner (for The Bad And The Beautiful) I wasn't surprised. She played the role Joan Collins tried to play for years.

Vic Tayback (Mel from 'Alice') showed he's got some dramatic range. He played the one likable male.

I can't mention the twists at the end. See it for yourself. It's slow going in places, but worth it.
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not a bad old time movie
Mattswife9719 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a pretty good movie considering the age of it. I mean it kept me in suspense. Ellie's mom is murdered in bed with a hammer. Ellie is put in a children's home since she didn't know her father. There she discovers that something isn't right with the place. She sees some kids (who is dead and frozen) but none of the other kids knew about it. She finds a girl tied up in the attic for trying to run away (some dumb ass said it's because she didn't fold her napkin). She tries to run away but she finds a kid's hand that was chopped off by the guy who fixes the place. She screams and runs but the orderly grabs her and puts her in the freezer. A police officer (wearing the scary looking mask)who is in love with Ellie attacks and puts them in the freezer and runs after Ellie. He tells her that he knows that it was her that killed her mother and the only way he won't tell on her is if she marries him. This movie really kept me in suspense. I would love to see it again if they would ever show it on satellite. It seems harder to find older movies like that one on dvds or even cassette tapes. They need to make more horror movies like this one instead of all those computer generated movies. 8 stars for this movie Sonya
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Great Movie
Rich361114 January 2004
It is funny because I think this was actually one of the greatest horror films I have seen, and yet it is impossible to find. Ever since I saw it in the theater in the mid 70's, I have wanted to see it again and share it with friends, but I have searched and searched and just simply cannot find a copy of it for sale anywhere!!!

Anyone out there that knows where to get a copy, please let me know, I would be greatly thankful!
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Early Disturbing and Distressing Horror-Murder-Mystery (rated PG)
romanorum116 November 2017
The opening scene presents a gruesome hammer-murder of a prostitute and her customer in an unusual killer's POV (point of view) camera shot. Right after, an attractive young woman – Ellie Masters (Melody Patterson) – awakes from a nightmare and screams. She is the daughter of the murdered woman. Very soon, as she is without parents, Ellie is sent to an orphanage run by twisted Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame) and creepy handyman Tom Kredge (Len Lesser). They have the knack for capturing fugitives and keeping them in deep freeze, after they are dispatched by Kredge.

Detective Calvin Carruthers (Vic Payback) supposedly wants to help Ellie. His motives are morally ambiguous, to say the least. Another strange dude is Mr. Mullins (Milton Selzer), a social worker who enjoys the favors from Mrs. Deere for looking the other way. A teen-aged girl is tied up in the attic and deprived of water for not folding her napkin. Meanwhile there is a strange dude with a chilling mask lurking about the place. What does he want? Does he want to kill Ellie, thinking that she saw him murder her mother, whom Ellie despised? Rapes and killings abound. So yes, it's a sick movie all-around, but quite interesting. Logic is left outside the door, but the ending is a real grabber.

In short, this is a trash-lovers delight, with nary a sympathetic character. It was filmed by American International Pictures. Gloria Grahame was an actress from the 1940s to the 1980s; some of her movies are "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952), and "Oklahoma" (1955). Melody Patterson had starred in the TV sitcom "F Troop" in 1965-1967. Len Lesser was featured in both movies and in TV, such as "Seinfeld." Vic Payback was in both the movie "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974), and in the TV version, "Alice." Milton Selzer was more known for his TV appearances than film.
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An excellent slice of seventies trash!
The_Void29 October 2007
Despite the fact that it's trash, I have to say that I really enjoyed Blood and Lace. I'm really not sure where the 'lace' part of the title comes from (perhaps a rip-off of Bava's masterpiece Blood and Black Lace?), but there's a bit of blood and plenty of other sickness as this film features a sadistic orphanage, hints of incest and a whole host of older male characters desperate to get it on with the central character - a teenage girl. The plot has a number of different angles springing from the numerous characters that have an interest in the proceedings, and the film starts with a brutal murder of a mother/prostitute and one of her clients, committed with a hammer. This leaves her daughter Ellie without anyone to look after her since nobody knows who her father is, so she is sent to an orphanage. The orphanage is run by a woman named 'Mrs Deere' and a handyman named Tom. There's also a social worker who stops by every so often, and a police officer with an interest in Ellie that goes a little past the call of duty...

It would be hard to argue that this is a bona fide 'good' film, but as a piece of seventies exploitation; it's a damn good film! This sort of flick really should just entertain and that's what it does. I imagine that certain themes on display would have been a lot more shocking in 1971 than they are today (though I'm not really sure how shocking considering the other films on offer around the early seventies), but personally I'm pretty much desensitised to being shocked by this sort of film anyway. The acting is pretty much atrocious all round, but lead actress Melody Patterson stands out in spite of her obvious lack of talent for being really cute! Older and more experienced performers Len Lesser, Gloria Grahame and Milton Selzer manage to impress a little more, but clearly this isn't an actor's film. The opening hammer murder sequence is the goriest and most brutal part of the film; from there the shocks are delivered by the male actors lusting after the teenaged lead, though the film doesn't feature any sex or nudity. The plot is always entertaining enough, and the ending revs up the stupidity to an irresistible level. Overall, Blood and Lace is pure trash and I really mean that in the nicest possible way! This film comes very much recommended to all the right people.
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I'd like to preserve you all just as you all.
lastliberal-853-25370810 August 2011
Melody Patterson spent three years on "F Troop" and did a couple of other shows and a couple of movies, including this one. She didn't do much after that, and there was a 16-year absence before a final film.

She is a young girl here whose mother died, and now she is placed in a creepy foster home run by Oscar winner Gloria Grahame, who you may remember as Violet on It's a Wonderful Life.

Of course, I did not like the social worker who placed Ellie (Patterson). As a former placement official myself, I did not have sex with the group home owners like he did.

Vic Tayback (Mel from Alice) is a detective who has a thing for Ellie, and so does the drunken handyman.

Ellie soon runs afoul of the owner (Graham) and her handyman (Len Lesser). Graham is sadistic and running afoul of her is not advised.

The twists at the end were the best part of the movie. I won't give them away, but they are really funny.
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Nasty Little Thriller with Fine Performances
Michael_Elliott22 October 2012
Blood and Lace (1971)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

This AIP thriller is one of the nastiest films you're ever going to see that got a GP rating. It really makes you wonder what the MPAA members were smoking at the time of watching this. After her prostitute mother and a client are brutally beaten to death with a hammer, teenager Ellie (Melody Patterson) goes to live at a boarding house ran by the rather sadistic Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame). Soon Ellie begins to fear that the man who killed her mother is now after her. BLOOD AND LACE is a pretty nasty little film that plays out more like a Hitchcock thriller than just a straight horror film. The film features some pretty memorable violence, some great performances and an all around good atmosphere, which helps overcome the flaws and make it worth viewing. What surprised me the most was how brutal some of the violence was starting off with the hammer deaths. Now, we're not talking SAW material but for 1971 it's pretty strong. There's also another scene where a boy gets his hand cut off, which looked very realistic and it's certainly something one won't forget. The performances are also great with former Oscar-winner Grahame really doing a great job in the role of one of the villains. I thought she played evil with a certain charm that really made it a fun performance to watch. Patterson is completely sympathetic in her role and she has no problem making you care about her. Len Lesser is fun as another one of the bad guys and there's even a young performance from Dennis Christopher. The film also features some beautiful cinematography, a nice music score and the atmosphere is quite dark and you can feel the coldness of the freezer that plays an important role in the film. I won't give away the ending but the final ten-minutes contain some nice suspense and great fun. BLOOD AND LACE has pretty much been forgotten over the years but it's a good little thriller that has a lot of strong stuff going for it.
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Abysmal stuff--even Gloria Grahame can't lift up her scenes far enough to matter
secondtake5 December 2010
Blood and Lace (1971)

Even for a horror movie depending on camp to survive this one is bad. I really wanted to see what Gloria Grahame was up to late in her career, and I suppose in a way she's one of the best part of the movie, but even she was a disappointment--in her case not campy enough. Give Bette Davis a bow for knowing how to let it rip. The plot circles around a barely sketched out orphanage where funny stuff with dead bodies is going on in the meat cooler.

Are we surprised that this is the director's only movie? No, we're more surprised that Grahame got roped into it. She's only 48 here, and yet she seems to have become prematurely stiff and timid. This is well past her prime as an actress (it didn't help that she had botched plastic surgery in the 1950s that left her upper lip paralyzed), but she did later act in in another ten movies, and in lots of television, and if none of it is terrific, this is downright awful. Let's just call it a fluke, a forgettable movie with a thin plot and bad filming and mediocre acting. I wouldn't waste any time with it. Said and done.
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