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Film / Bordello of Blood

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Bordello of Blood is the second film based on Tales from the Crypt, following Demon Knight. Starring Dennis Miller, Angie Everhart, Erika Eleniak, Chris Sarandon, and Corey Feldman, it tells the story of Rafe Guttman (Miller), a snarky Private Eye who's called in by Catherine Verdoux (Eleniak) to find her rebellious brother Caleb (Feldman), who went missing after storming out following an argument.

Rafe's investigation leads him to a whorehouse/mortuary run by McCutcheon (Aubrey Morris). Further investigation leads our wisecracking hero to discover that the brothel/mortuary is inhabited by vampires led by Lilith (Everhart). It then turns out Lilith was resurrected by Catherine's boss, televangelist Reverend Jimmy "J.C." Current (Sarandon), so he could rid the world of sin, but Lilith's got her own agenda. Now it falls to Rafe and Catherine to save the world before Lilith and her sexy vamps overrun it.

Bordello of Tropes:

  • Ambiguously Jewish: Rafe is seen wearing a Star of David pendant (which Tammy mistakes for a crucifix) and briefly wears a yarmulke near the end of the movie.
  • An Arm and a Leg: At the start, the Crypt Keeper and a Mummy associate are talking movies which eventually devolves into a disagreement that they play Rock–Paper–Scissors to settle it. CK ends up losing and gets his hand chopped off. But it doesn't deter him, and he continues the game while the movie goes into the story proper. At the end, we see he managed to overcome the Mummy who's lost all his body save his head but is still trying continue the game.
    Crypt Keeper: Trust me, buddy, quit while you're ahead. [cackles]
  • And Show It to You: One of Lilith's favorite ways to kill her male victims, by ripping out their hearts (or, at one point in the beginning of the movie, by shoving her tongue down someone's throat and pushing it out from their body—yes, she's that strong) before eating them.
    Lilith: [after killing Caleb's friend and holding his heart] Don't eat your heart out, baby, that's my job. [growls and bites into the heart]
  • Back from the Dead: Lilith's revival by Vincent kick-starts the film's plot.
  • Badass Preacher: Near the end of the movie, Reverend Current joins forces with Rafe, and the two slaughter Lilith's vamps with squirt guns filled with holy water. Current then tries to kill Lilith himself. Sadly, his attempt fails and he's mortally wounded for his trouble.
  • Bound and Gagged: Catherine, after she's captured by Lilith.
  • Brick Joke: Rafe sees Jenkins, one of Lilith's thralls, putting on sunblock during a funeral. In the final scene, Rafe asks Catherine what perfume she's wearing, and she replies it's sunblock. Then Catherine reveals she's a vampire.
  • Casting Gag: William Sadler (Brayker from Demon Knight) has a cameo as a mummy in the Framing Device.
  • Car Fu / Car Meets House: Rafe rams his car into the mortuary and takes down McCutcheon in the process.
  • Cassandra Truth: Rafe manages to find proof that Lilith is evil, but the pictures he takes show nothing since vampires can't be photographed.
    • Though it becomes somewhat of a Someday This Will Come in Handy as when Catherine and her cameraman look over the tapes of an interview she had with Lilith, Lilith isn't seen on tape being interviewed, making her and the cameraman realize Rafe wasn't lying.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Reverend Current's "Laserlight o' the Lord."
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • William Sadler, the lead of the previous film, appears as a mummy in the Framing Device.
    • In the scene where Rafe, after being trapped in a hospital, kills Tammy by exposing her to sunlight, his roommate wakes up and tells him to keep it down as she's trying to sleep. That roommate is played by Whoopi Goldberg, who appeared in both the wraparound and main segment of one of the TV show's episodes.
  • Cramming the Coffin: How the vampires dispose of their victims' bodies.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Rafe may be a snarking goofball, but he kicks all kinds of ass during the third act.
  • Damsel in Distress: Catherine, though she does manage to kill Lilith at the end.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rafe, full stop. Dennis Miller snarks like no other.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Lilith shows sexual interest in both men and women.
  • The Determinator: Rafe really doesn't give up on Catherine's case.
  • Downer Ending: Catherine is revealed to have been bitten in the leg and turned into a vampire. Though she doesn't reveal this fact till Lilith is destroyed and Rafe and she are alone before snacking on him. Still, the moment comes off as more comedic than depressing. 'Side, it's Tales from the Crypt; what do ya expect?
  • The Dragon: Vincent is Lilith's right-hand man.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Crypt Keeper is a nasty little murderer, but he's taken aback, then deeply unimpressed when the mummy director congratulates a colleague, only to immediately turn around and badmouth him behind his back.
  • Evil Redhead: Lilith, the mother of all vampires, sports long red hair.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Catherine is revealed to have become an evil vampire at the end of the movie.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Done by Caleb when Rafe and Catherine go to meet him at a spot he calls them too. Though it's not much of a surprise considering this happens late in the film and the last time we saw him, he was in the brothel with one vampire about to feed on him and Lilith soon approaching him for a three-way.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Caleb and his friend at the start, when the hookers they're given have very visible bite marks on their necks, indicating they're making out with walking corpses. Caleb does start to notice with the girl he's with, but Lilith comes along and distracts and quickly turns him before he can question it further.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lilith is polite and likes to make puns, but she is also sadistically plotting the conquest of the earth.
  • Flipping the Bird: Lilith does this to Rafe, complete with a "Fuck you!", after he cuts her with an ax.
  • Game Face: Oddly only Caleb really showcases this when he reappears in the movie halfway through. When he calls Catherine, he looks normal. But when he finally confronts Rafe and her, his face is now more bumpy with ridges on his brow and his eyes sunken in while naturally showcasing his new fangs.
  • Gaslighting: Gets lampshaded by Rafe in one scene where he brings Catherine and the police captain to the mortuary to prove his claims about the whorehouse/mortuary.
  • Gorn: Oh yeah, as early as the first scene too with the explorers getting messily murdered by the revived Lilith.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of Lilith's minions is hit with holy water in the torso. Both parts survive for a bit (the legs can be seen stumbling off while the upper body of the woman manages to drag herself to Reverend Current before dying).
    • Lilith also gets this via an ax, but Rafe doesn't cut deep enough and she simply attaches the cut part back to her body like putty.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: McCutcheon is one weird motherfucker. He even plays with the nipples of a fat female corpse and sniffs the gas that comes out when he cuts it open.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Reverend Current had Lilith resurrected so he could have her cleanse the world of sin. When she turns on him, he realizes how badly he screwed up and resolves to help Rafe put an end to Lilith.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Subverted with Lilith.
    Rafe: [to Lilith] I'm not going to tell you those aren't the Breasts of the Century, but I'm just not digging the owner, so why don't you put those away; you're just not my type.
  • I Love the Dead: McCutcheon, who plays with the nipples of a female corpse.
  • Jerkass: Caleb. And Noonan the police chief.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • One of the explorers at the prologue of the movie. The only last we seem of him is Lilith lashing her tongue at him and him yelling before cutting to the Cryptkeeper and his Mummy friend. Though the mummy describes that he was torn to pieces.
    • Caleb isn't seen bitten at the start of the movie, but it's obvious Lilith fed on him as it's his disappearance that gets the plot moving. It's only surprising later that he shows up still alive... except not really since the story is dealing with vampires and, unshockingly, it's shown that Lilith turned him into one.
    • Tammy is a borderline example. As Rafe moves away from the room Lilith and she are talking in, we suddenly hear Tammy scream followed by her dead body hitting the floor. We see her up and about later, but not surprisingly having now become a vampire.
  • Kiss of Death: Lilith kills Caleb's friend at the start by sticking her Overly-Long Tongue into his mouth while frenching him and extending it till it reaches his heart to which she forcefully pushes it out of his body.
  • Large Ham: Reverend Current.
    • Jenkins as well.
      Jenkins: SEX?! I'll show you the BEST Gyodddamn pussy in the world!
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the dark and edgy TV series and Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood is much campier and lighter.
  • Male Gaze:
    Caleb: [on a vampire with three pierced nipples] I finally found a girl with a little something extra.
  • Murder by Cremation: Subverted. Lilith is killed by Catherine, but her remains are cremated so she can't be resurrected ever again.
  • No-Sell: Rafe is one of the few who can withstand Lilith's charms. Lilith notices he's a "special one" after tasting his blood.
  • Off with His Head!: Lilith kills Jenkins by literally ripping his head off his body.
  • Only Sane Man: Rafe. His snark should have been a tip-off to so many of the characters.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Somewhat. The regular vampires have the usual weaknesses, but they can get by in the daytime thanks to sunblock. Though they're surprisingly weak (a little holy water or sunlight, and they explode like confetti). Only Lilith is strong enough to mostly withstand these since she's the head vampire and only splitting her heart can fully kill her. They're also more visceral than average and seem to have a particular fondness for snacking on hearts. Caleb also seems to mention that the turning process can be relatively slow, which might account for why Catherine, who's already been turned, fights and kills Lilith at the end instead of being a fully loyal thrall.
  • Picky Eater: Lilith isn't fond of vegetarians.
    Lilith: [after ripping out the heart of a patron and biting into it] Vegetarian? Ugh! Another vegetarian! I hate vegetarians. [hands the heart over to a vampire minion]
  • Predatory Prostitute: The titular whorehouse is teeming with vampire hookers who often end up tearing their customers to shreds.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Current tries to correct his mistake and ends up dead.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Poor Reverend Current.
  • Scars are Forever: Most of the vampires still retain the bite marks on their necks after they turn. The hookers shown at the beginning has the camera linger on them a bit (interestingly, the first hooker's marks are dried and partially healed, meaning she was dead for some time while the second is much more swollen and fresh-looking, indicating she was turned recently). Caleb still has his on his neck. And it's even a plot point in the finale when Rafe pulls back Catherine's skirt and finds out too late that she was bitten in the thigh by Lilith.
  • Scream Discretion Shot:
    • When Vincent offers the last of the expedition team to Lilith in return for her servitude, we see Lilith shooting out her tongue at said team member and him screaming before cutting to the Mummy and Cryptkeeper, the former telling him how the scene is playing out.
    • During Rafe's first investigation of the mortuary, he passes by a room where Lilith is interviewing a potential hooker candidate named Tammy. He pays it no mind and continues on, but just as he goes downstairs, he suddenly hears Tammy scream followed by a loud meaty thud.
  • Sexily Modest: Subverted. When Rafe infiltrates the vampires' brothel, he's assigned a woman named Tamara who wears a modest, old-fashioned gown that completely covers her from the neck down. It completely mismatches her personality as a hardcore dominatrix, and when Rafe tells her to undress first, it takes about half a second for Tamara to strip and reveal her leather n' chains outfit underneath.
    Rafe: You know, I almost wore that exact same outfit! Wouldn't we have been mortified?
  • Soul Jar: Lilith can only stay moving if her heart is within her body as it's the only thing keeping her powered. When it's sliced into four pieces in the climax, it does weaken her but doesn't kill her since it's not out of her body. Catherine finishes the job by impaling Lilith from behind and knocking the heart pieces out of her.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Interesting subversion as the schlub is the protagonist, Rafe. Even more of a subversion, Rafe rejects the attempt.
    Lilith: [as a cheerleader] Two, four, six, eight, you can watch me masturbate!
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Lilith, until she's freed at the start of the movie.
  • Shout-Out:
    Rafe: I feel like I'm in a bad episode of Tales from the Crypt.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" plays during the Storming the Castle sequence.
  • Storming the Castle: Rafe and Current going to town on the female vampires of the bordello near the end.
  • Thematic Series: Along with Demon Knight, making up the Tales from the Crypt film series which aren't connected in a narrative fashion.
  • Torso with a View: Caleb is killed off this when when Rafe sprays him with holy water, which denigrates his midsection, leaving a hole in his stomach.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Seems to go by Dracula rules where the turned victims' original personalities are overwritten with a more lustful and malevolent one closer to that of their lead vampire.
    • Tammy, a (supposed) hooker looking for work, has the unfortunate luck of being referred to Lilith. After a interview, Lilith "hires" her (i.e., becomes a meal for Lilith. Rafe, while investigating the house and not moments before passed the room where she was speaking to Lilith, hears Tammy scream and her body hitting the floor. Lilith is seen later picking her fangs from the feeding and calling for McCutcheon to come move and prep Tammy's body before she resurrects) and Tammy is next seen much more lustful than her friendly self seen during her interview, completely subservient to Lilith (she seems genuinely afraid when she has to explain herself when Rafe escapes her).
    • Caleb, who is seen again late in the film, is spared from being outright killed as his buddy was and is turned into a vampire, happily helping Lilith and her henchmen kidnap his sister and even asking to watch when Lilith implies she'll rape Catherine first before turning her. But then again, he was shown at the beginning to be an asshole. So it's no surprise that he'd lose whatever little morals and inhibitions he had after the change.
      Catherine: [strapped to a metal grate] Caleb, please let me go.
      Caleb: [in vamp face] Sorry, no can do. I gotta play by the rules here. I know how you feel, I didn't want to be a vampire first. But after you get used to it, it's pretty damn cool! [laughs evilly and sticks out his tongue]
    • And of course, Catherine herself at the end of the movie, though a clue to the audience is when she seems much more receptive to Rafe's advances.
  • Triple Nipple: "I always wanted a girl with a little extra."
  • Twist Ending: It turns out that the religious, celibate, and heterosexual Catherine was actually seduced and turned into one of the promiscuous, bisexual vampire prostitutes before she was ever "rescued," but played along so that Rafe would wipe out her competition and she could start a whole new evil vampire sex cult beginning with him.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Subverted; it's just a cover for Lilith's operations.
  • Vampire Hickey:
    • Seen at the start of the movie when two hookers Caleb and his friend are given have puncture marks on their necks to show the two are unwittingly making out with undead women. Curiously, the first one has a dry and partially healed one, indicating she was turned a long while ago while the second's marks are red and swollen, showing she's a recent victim.
    • Used at the end when Rafe pulls up Catherine's skirt and finds the bite marks Lilith gave her on her thigh right before Catherine reveals her fangs.
  • Vampire Monarch: Lilith, obviously.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: It's a literal example of the trope. Lilith is the original vampire, and she was an ancient goddess of blood and sex, making her turned victims actual demigods of sex and blood.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Reverend Current had Lilith brought back so he could use her to rid the world of sin.
  • Wham Line:
    Rafe: What is that perfume you're wearing?
    Catherine: It's not perfume. It's sunblock.
  • Wham Shot: At the end, when Rafe is fondling Catherine, he pulls up her skirt and finds two bite marks on her thigh.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In the final fight, Lilith comments that she's never killed a woman before (she doesn't seem to count turning them into undead minions), but Catherine has pissed her off so much she'll make an exception in her case.


Video Example(s):


Vampire Caleb

Tales from the Crypt - Bordello of Blood (1996): Catherine has been captured by her brother Caleb, who has been turned into a vampire by Lilith. Catherine begs him to let her go, but, having long been a douche bag when he was human, joining the undead has just made him worst than ever and lacking any empathy he might've had for her welfare.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TranshumanTreachery

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