Feb 5, 2009

Steel and Lace

You'll notice something undeniably special about Mom and Pop video stores of the grand ole' VHS heydays. Following the popularity surge of the Digital Video Disc, most of these tiresome spoof titles offering up soft-core B-movie fun were sold at bargain prices leaving a certain collector foaming at the mouth. An opportunity to purchase various Lamberto Bava titles seems too good to be true. Like many of these titles before it, few or none of these have the hopes of seeing an official DVD release. Steel and Lace is one of the misjudged. While not being a great film by any means, it feels like a real movie should but with an inspired touch of science fiction and comedic properties.

After being ferociously raped off screen by a gang of affluent males with their bright careers ahead of them, Clare Wren's denied justice on part of alibi's from the culprits. After taking her life on the very same day, her brother Bruce Davison, a NASA scientist whose specialties revolve around artificial intelligence, decides to recreate her body into a cybernetic android for the sole purpose of TV-YA titillation and murderous revenge. I know what you're thinking and yes, I said the same thing. "Am I in exploitation heaven?" and you won't be disappointed. While the effort does feel like a Lifetime rape/revenge movie aided by the influence of psychedelics, Steel and Lace does have quality kills, over acting zealously on a project as B influenced as this, and some young and coming TV talent as Bruce Davison and David Naughton.

The dialogue is tripe and causal Law and Order drivel. Detective talk seems to bother me these days. You'd think that instead of physical training, they'd be forced into taking a personality test as seen in most restaurant businesses. Most, wait no, all of the memorable lines are blurted out by the forensic detective. He goes off on a verbal rampage describing the ingenuity behind the murders. His comments are most funny on arguing over the alleged "strangled while being decapitated" murder. Gaily Morton as Clare Wren delivers a promising role as the crying, infantile woman who'd been desecrated. She later switches roles to play a cold and curious killing machine. Later, you'll see her "CPU" when Bruce Davison inserts her visual memory into his hardware. The android effects could be easily realized as an important piece of science fiction fan lore.

Steel and Lace is a very entertaining film that leads up as a B-movie unkempt with trashy moments and an incredibly small budget. Director Ernest D. Farino will later move on to directing Moonbeam's select Josh Kirby episodes. It's only justice to see someone of oblivious childish trash-exploitation that will grace the screens of networks like TNT one day. The absolute surprise this film is holding back on is the moving and powerful ending. An amateur director looks past his restrictions and delivers a stunning point-of-view from a free fall by sacrificing a camera. If you're scoping for VHS treasures that wont be magnificently realized on a higher format, look no further. I doubt we'll see Steel and Lace on Bluray any time soon. Keep crossing your fingers for a chance to see this hidden gem.


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