At one stage in Bordello of Blood, which feels like an episode of the fondly remembered 90s TV show stretched out to an interminable length (though the main feature minus framing device and credits isn’t much longer than an hour), Dennis Miller’s apparently ‘witty’ private detective character says “I feel like I’m in a bad Tales from the Crypt episode”. It’s undeniably accurate; it’s one of the very few moments that does ring true in this absolute disaster of a feature, which came hot on the heels of the first ‘Tales from the Crypt Presents’ film, Demon Knight. Unlike Demon Knight, which was an awful lot of fun – as well as being brilliantly shot, with some excellent performances from a scenery-devouring Billy Zane, the always reliable William Sadler and a very young Jada Pinkett – Bordello of Blood is a total waste of time.

It’s little more than an excuse for boobs and blood, though the faux red stuff on display is a lot more convincing than the seeming dozens of fake breasts that are thrust front and centre in many scenes. Also completely unconvincing is Dennis Miller; for a supposed comedian, it’s incredible how many of his attempts at funny puns, one liners and pop culture references fall absolutely flat.

There’s a baffling blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Whoopi Goldberg cameo. Corey Feldman appears and isn’t bad as a human character, but (spoiler alert) as a vampire, he’s insufferable, choosing to end every single line of dialogue by irritatingly sticking his tongue out for no good reason. Chris Sarandon hams it up as a televangelist – though he’s not bad as such, his role is thankless and shoddily written.

The tone veers all over the place. It’s clearly supposed to be amusing, but – like Dennis Miller’s ad-libbing – it’s painfully unfunny. A late stage holy water shootout with Super Soakers is undone by shoddy staging and Ballroom Blitz on the soundtrack, clearly an attempt to make the sight of semi naked women gorily exploding ‘fun’.

It’s a shame, not just because the preceding film – the aforementioned Demon Knight – was so good, but also because it starts so promisingly, with a cheesy, Indiana Jones-esque prologue that leads us into the Crypt Keeper’s appearance. He looks great; he’s a wonderfully expressive animatronic creation – and at least his puns are supposed to be groan-inducingly cheesy. Demon Knight’s William Sadler appears as a plummy English Mummy in this intro section too – so it all seems to be going the right way until the main story starts.

There’s some excellent prosthetic effects at least, given that it’s from a time when decent CGI was prohibitively expensive for low budget films – but I’m really grasping at straws now. You’re better off sticking with the original TV series or Demon Knight: stay well away from the Bordello of Blood.

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