Slasher Hunt 2020: Deadly Manor (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review


Arrow Video unearths another long-forgotten slasher film. Is the film a winner or one that probably should have been left to rot?


Studio: Arrow Video
Release Date: 1990 (theatrical)
                            February 25th, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 86 mins
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English LPCM 1.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jerry Kernion, William Russell, and Jennifer Delora
Written by José Ramón Larraz and Brian Smedley-Aston
Directed by José Ramón Larraz
Rating: Not Rated (sexual content/nudity, some bloody violence, and language)

THE FILM


It's a dark and stormy night. Three teenage couples head out, searching for a local lake to camp by. Unfortunately, the one friend who recommended the camping site can't quite remember how to get there. They begin to hope that luck is on their side, when they pickup a hitchhiker who knows the area well. But, night is falling, they have hours left to go before they can reach their destination, and the weather is turning worse and worse. They decide to pull off on a side road to find a place to camp for the night. But, instead of finding a camp site, they come upon what appears to be a deserted old mansion.

The girls all quickly come to feel that the mansion is hiding something sinister. They sense a menacingly air about the place. Despite the girl's objections, their boyfriends insist that they will remain there for the night. You'd think the coffins they found in the basement would be enough to change their minds. But, that's kids for you! 
Soon... 
They discover that this is more than an abandoned house. It is a mansion where lust and murder rule. Soon the members of the group start turning up dead, and the teenagers realize that they're not alone.

Ok. These people are stupid. Picking up a hitchhiker in a horror flick is one thing, but going out of your way to get to the place where the rest of the film is supposed to take place when you have no reason but the plot to go there is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in a horror film. All of the main characters are traveling to a lake for the weekend. They pick up a hitchhiker who tells them that they are hours from the lake. They then get a flat tire which they fix pretty fast. After they get back on the road, the driver decides that they should travel down a lonely dirt road to another that leads to a giant mansion they would have had no idea was there. These morons rationalize getting off the road in a perfectly fine car by saying that “it’s getting dark and a storm is coming.” I have traveled for hours through rain, sleet, and snow, in the cover of night, and never once did I stop at an off the road mansion. The plot needed the assholes to be at that house so the screenwriters came up with the dumbest way to get them there. Plain and simple.

The rest of the film is these jackasses settling into the house (where there is no storm) and they get killed off one by one by someone or something. I honestly didn’t care who was who or what was what. The gore is almost non-existent with a little blood coming out of those who have their throats slashed. There is some nudity during a nightmare sequence, which goes on for a long time like the director, who previously made Edge of the Axe, was trying to make up for Edge’s lack of nudity. The reveal to the killer is so badly done that you wonder why they even tried at all.

Deadly Manor is really bad. The characters are all one-note (that note being stupid) and they offered nothing to me to get me on their side. I just wanted them to die. The film looks nice, but does it really matter? The deaths are lazy as is the gore and I just wanted the film to end. If you want to see a better film from the same director, then check out Edge of the Axe. That film isn’t the best, but it is miles better than Deadly Manor.

THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND


Presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and coming from a recent 2K restoration, Deadly Manor looks good. Colors and skin tones are good. Detail is high at times. Blacks are inky. There is also a thin layer of grain that leads to that detail. The picture does have a softness at times, especially during the third act.

The LPCM 1.0 track is also good with dialogue leading the way. Music plays mostly in the background and sound effects sound muted at times.

THE PACKAGING

I was sent a check disc for this review so I can not review the packaging. However, this is Arrow Video so we know that there will be reversible cover art and a booklet.

THE MENUS







Disc is REGION FREE

THE FEATURES


House of Whacks (32m 53s, HD) Here we have an interview with actress Jennifer Delora, who plays Amanda in the film. She begins by talking about how she was so well established in the industry that she never had to audition for a role. Producers would just call her up and tell her what they needed her for and she would say yes or no. She still has the script she was given a week before shooting began. She then talks about her nude scene and how her and the scenes co-star did not get along. The actor wanted the set closed down because he was going to be naked while filming. She got in his face after he threw a fit and told him that if he didn’t want to shoot the scene as is then he needed to get off the set. The actor left and a PA replaced him for the rest of that scene’s shoot. She also talks about her love for director José Ramón Larraz. He respected her and her ideas for the role. He asked her to shoot below the waist nudity, which was something she never did, and because she trusted him, she did it.


Making a Killing (7m 3s, HD) Next, we have a very short interview with producer Brian Smedley-Aston, who was on set every day and didn’t get along with his Spanish co-producers. He talks about how the house was set for demolition and was actually burned down. This destroying of the house was filmed but never used.


Archival Interview with Jose Larraz (3m 42s, HD, 1.33:1) Here Larraz tells very much the same story that Delora told about the sex scene and the problem actor.

“Savage Lust” VHS Trailer (1m, HD)

Original Promo (4m 23s, SD, 1.33:1) Here is a promo that was used to sell the film. Basically, the film is condensed down to its important (ie most sellable) bits.

Image Gallery (2m 50s, HD)

Audio Commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan. Here we have another wonderful commentary track from Ms. Ellinger and Ms. Deighan. They provide us with an informative and humorous look at the making of Deadly Manor. They talk about the life and career Jose Larraz and the shortcomings of the script, all the while talking about how entertaining the film is. This is a must-listen track even if you don’t like the film.

THE CONCLUSION



THE FILM3
THE PICTURE7.5
THE SOUND6
THE PACKAGINGN/A
THE FEATURES8.5

Summary

Deadly Manor is a dead zone of a film. The acting, scripting, and effects are all terrible and the film has nothing going for it outside of a few humorous moments and some pretty good nudity. The film just did nothing for me outside of boring the shit out of me. The blu-ray, on the other hand, is REALLY good. The picture and sound quality are good, but it is the special features that won me over. The interview with Jennifer Delora is a must, with some much information about the film and how films, in general, are made. The commentary is also a must. After listening to the track, I think I am going to give the film another watch. We’ll see how that turns out.
6
Overall Score

THE SCREENSHOTS (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)




















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