Lila: Mantis in Lace/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Remember that famous line in Reefer Madness? "....Under the influence of drugs... who killed his entire family with an axe". If you always wanted to see how that scene might have played out, you could get a good idea of how the scene looked here in Mantis in Lace. But rather than a young boy who smokes weed, what we have instead is Lila (Susan Stewart), a quite popular stripper who performs (what looks to be) on the Sunset Strip. So popular in fact that you can always count on spending some intimate time with her after she's done with her dance routines. What she'll do is take you to a nearby abandoned warehouse which holds a bed, record player, and wine glasses! But one night, one of her admirers decides to spike her drink with a tap of LSD before they make out. As Lila goes into ecstasy, the intensity of her trip goes way off her boundaries resulting into her attacking and stabbing her lover(s). But this is one nasty mantis. Rather than just delivering a singular death blow, Lila has a habit of chopping her victims into little bitty pieces! It now appears that Lila becomes a little hooked to LSD. And god knows why she gets hooked on it. Perhaps she just enjoys the traumatizing high of killing people? Maybe so. Regardless, her chopping ways continue and the body parts lead to two police dicks, (Steve Vincent and M.K. Evans) who will solve the case of this boulevard ripper.
Well, I've only seen one version of this movie (the widely available 86-minute cut) but it's too bad I can't get a hold of one of the shorter versions because I'm willing to bet that a shorter version might have resulted in a much more of a well-rounded flick. Though I'm not knocking the elongated stripper dances because they're quite nice to look at (which includes a trio of other strippers aside from Lila) but they seem to go on a little long. But again, this was 60's cinema. A time when filmmakers were experimenting with their new freedom (as well as giving non-strip club attendees what to expect in a strip joint) So this isn't anything new. There's also a very lengthy love scene involving a stripper named Angel and the club manager which doesn't add anything to the movie, but it's here as an added bonus for the certain patrons who want a little more bang for their buck. Undoubtedly, the movie's main highlights are Lila's trip-out sequences. Using a very simple and effective tactic of projecting kaleidoscopic art on the faces of Lila's victims. And I don't know what it was, but a thunderstorm never sounded so menacing to me (As there's quite a bit of thunderclapping down the stretch of this flick) So although this isn't a perfect little film (again, someone lead me to a shorter version!) this is still one for the archives if you like topless dancing,belly dancing, psychedelic imagery,and a bit of slasher killing.
Reviewed by Laydback