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Deadly Manor
Savage Lust

Spain 1990
produced by
Brian Smedley-Aston, Ángel Somolinos, Enrique Bellot (executive), Alexander W. Kogan jr (executive), Barry Tucker (executive) for Castor Films, Filmworld International
directed by José Ramón Larraz
starring Clark Tufts, Greg Rhodes, Claudia Franjul, Mark Irish, Liz Hitchler, Jerry Kernion, Kathleen Patane, Douglas Gowland, William Russell, Jennifer Delora
written by José Ramón Larraz, Brian Smedley-Aston, additional dialogue by Larry Ganem, music by Cengiz Yaltkaya

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Youngsters Tony (Greg Rhodes), Helen (Claudia Franjul), Rod (Mark Irish), Susan (Liz Hitchler), Peter (Jerry Kernion) and Anne (Kathleen Patane) are on their way to an obscure lake for a weekend of wall-to-wall partying, but lose their way, and sinister hitchhiker Jack (Clark Tufts) they pick up can only tell them that they won't reach the lake before nightfall - so they stop at a probably abandoned manor to spend the night. Now the manor is creepy from the get-go, what with its enshrined crashed car in the garden, and it being littered with photos of just one (admittedly beautiful and sometimes naked) woman, Amanda (Jennifer Delora), in every room as if whoever lived here was obsessed with her. And then, there are coffins in the basement ... well, suffice to say, this proves too much to Helen, and she rather bolts on her own and on foot than staying for the night. When her boyfriend Tony goes after her only a short time later to persuade her to come back but cannot find her anywhere - well, that's weird. Of course, the audience knows she has been killed by a person unknown. Soon enough, the kids fall one by one, while Jack, who happens to pack a gun, acts more and more suspicious. But once the truth is revealed, it actually proves to be much more gruesome and sinister ...

 

Now I won't lie here, Deadly Manor is not on par with José Ramón Larraz' masterpieces like Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness or Whirlpool, to name but two, as the film is way too caught up in the then contemporary slasher formula, but that doesn't make this a bad movie as such - for once, it puts more emphasis on atmosphere as your usual genre fare, and it sometimes at least dabbles in the grotesque (what with the enshrined crashed car), all the while never forgetting about tension and suspense. Sure, to properly enjoy this, one has to be into old school slasher cinema to at least some extent, but if so, this is a really fun ride.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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