Mantis In Lace: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Lila (Susan Stewart) looks like most of the topless go-go girls at her club, beautiful and innocent, but there is a darker side to this sweetheart as well. She loves to have fun in all sorts of ways, from wild sex to rampant drug use, but she most likes to get laid while she pops LSD. This gives her the most bang for her buck in terms of highs, but she also gets some strange visions, such as flashing lights, color swirls, and hallucinations. And when she sees some threatening visions, Lila snaps and with whatever object she can find, he hacks her lover to pieces. Of course, Lila isn’t normally a sadistic killer, but the mixture of sex and drugs seems to push her right over that edge, with no end in sight. As her list of victims grows longer and longer, Lila is tracked more by the police, which means her run of lustful murders could be over soon. But is this all due to the drug induced hallucinations, or is Lila really a psycho in go-go boots?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Mantis In Lace in my hands, as this is one movie I thought would never see a release on our beloved format. But the folks at Something Weird Video (distributed via Image Entertainment) have issued this offbeat flick and in uncut form to boot, which is a first for the home video circuit. Mantis In Lace is a strange and baffling at times, but I have to admit, I loved every second of it and I am sure this one will be shown to friends, time and time again. I’ve already viewed it three times in less than twenty-four hours, alone and with some buddies, each time I had more fun than the last. There is some nudity and violence involved though, so you easily offended folks take heed, as well as those who get confused without much trouble. So what if Mantis In Lace is off the wall and doesn’t make sense at times, so long as it entertains, it has my seal of approval. And man, I was very entertained by this assault of colors, flesh, blood, and drugs, so I am giving this disc a very “high” recommendation. As if the film wasn’t reason enough to pick this up, the disc is a real winner also, so don’t hesitate to give this release a look.

I was surprised to see who served as cinematographer for Mantis In Lace, but if you pay attention, you can tell a skilled worker is involved. In this case, it was Laszlo Kovacs, esteemed photographer and even in an acid trip of a flick like this, he injects a stunning visual presence. Kovacs worked on many of these exploitation style films in his early days, before moving on to mainstream fare and finding massive success. I think the visuals here are vital to Mantis In Lace and as such, I think Kovacs was the perfect choice, as he delivers some memorable work behind the camera, if you can take your eyes off Lila, that is. Other films Kovacs worked as cinematographer on include Easy Rider, Shampoo, Ghostbusters, Copycat, Five Easy Pieces, and New York, New York. The cast here includes Susan Stewart (Girlsapoppin, The First Nudie Musical), M.K. Evans, Vic Lance (The Satin Mushroom, The Astro-Zombies), Steve Vincent (The Golden Box, Wild Riders), and Pat Barrington (Mondo Topless, Sisters In Leather).

Video: How does it look?

Mantis In Lace is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an acceptable aspect ratio. I do think this is an open matte version, but most of the shots retain a sense of visual composition, even though a nice anamorphic widescreen treatment would be nice. This low budget picture shows some age signs, such as grain and debris, but I was pleased with how clean the print was in the end. The colors look a little faded at times, but the basic hues are in order and flesh tones seem natural also. The grain causes a couple lapses with the contrast, but nothing serious and most of the time, the black levels look terrific. As I said, I would love a new anamorphic widescreen transfer, but this is a more than solid effort, given the nature and age of the source materials.

Audio: How does it sound?

A basic, but adequate mono track is included, which means there’s not much to discuss here. I won’t complain about the range since this is a mono option, but the music could use a boost, to be honest. The elements seem in fine form though, no real harshness or distortion to report, aside from a couple small instances. The music doesn’t sound aged in the least, while the various sound effects also come across with no real flaws to talk about. I was pleased with the vocals also, as the dialogue sounds clean throughout and crisper than expected, which was nice. I don’t think this would make a good demo disc, but the bases are more than covered here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In addition to the extended, uncut edition of the film, this disc also includes some nice supplements. A total of three bonus short films have been tacked on, all of which are fun to watch and are themed around topics from Mantis In Lace. I loved LSD: Trip or Trap?, but all three more than warrant a look and make for welcome inclusions here. The usual selections of exploitation artwork and radio spots have also been packed in, but even more bonus features can be seen on this disc. The main supplement here is over one hundred minutes of never before seen outtakes, which I was overwhelmed to see listed on the case. The pieces range from extended dance sequences to longer sex scenes to unused location shots, which are fun to watch and I commend Something Weird for putting them on this release. You can also find an alternate psychedelic murder sequence on this disc, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer. On behalf of cult films everywhere, I want to thank Something Weird Video for giving this movie the treatment it deserves, kudos to those involved.

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