DEADLY MANOR (1990) Reviews and overview of Jose Larraz’ slasher

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[Total: 67   Average: 2.5/5]

Deadly Manor is a 1990 Spanish slasher horror feature film in which a group of teenagers stay the night in a seemingly deserted old mansion. Soon, the members of the group start turning up dead and the panicked teenagers realise that they’re not alone.

Directed by José Ramón Larraz [as Jose Larraz] (Edge of the Axe; Scream – and Die!; Symptoms; Vampyres) from a screenplay co-written with Brian Smedley-Aston, the movie stars Clark Tufts, Greg Rhodes (Ghosthouse), Claudia Franjul and Mark Irish. Jennifer Delora was also in Bad Girls Dormitory; Robot Holocaust; Bedroom Eyes II and Frankenhooker. Produced by Brian Smedley-Aston and Ángel Somolinos.

The uninspiring synth soundtrack score was composed by Cengiz Yaltkaya (Curfew).

Blu-ray release:

Arrow Video released Deadly Manor on Blu-ray on February 25th 2020.

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Sam Deighan
Newly-filmed interview with actress Jennifer Delora
Making a Killing: a newly-filmed interview with producer Brian Smedley-Aston
Extract from an archival interview with Jose Larraz
Original Savage Lust VHS trailer
Image Gallery
Original Script and Shooting Schedule (BD-ROM content)
Reversible sleeve featuring new artwork by Adam Rabalais
Collector’s booklet (first pressing only) featuring new writing on the film by author John Martin

Plot:

Two couples—Tony and Helen, and Rod and Susan—are traveling via car through upstate New York to visit a lake, with their friends, couple Peter and Anne, following behind on a motorcycle. En route, the group pick up Jack, a hitchhiker who claims to be familiar with the area, but is in reality an escaped convict.

As night falls and they fail to arrive at the lake, Rod decides to pull off onto a side road and camp overnight. At the end of the winding road, they come across an abandoned house and decide to spend the night there. In the yard, the group find a burned, damaged car oddly parked atop a stone monument. Inside is a photo of a beautiful young woman, along with articles of clothing; they determine it to be a bizarre shrine of some sort…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Content-wise, though Deadly Manor has many elements that have become synonymous with slasher cinema. The result is a film that actually owes more to Gothic horror, then it does the slasher film. And nowhere is this clearer, than how Deadly Manor is a rather bloodless film that spends most of its time building a foreboding mood.” 10K Bullets

“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 Big Movie House

“Once in a great while, one of our protagonists is quietly murdered off-screen. Or maybe they just went out for another smoke. Savage Lust’s aggressive lack of tension, violence and human flesh could be excused if it was helmed by a 13-year-old Jehovah’s Witness. But this crippling strike against entertainment was written and directed by euro-exploitation legend José Ramón Larraz…” Bleeding Skull!

“One element that can’t be forgiven in this film is the quality of the acting, which at times is truly cringeworthy. Only Jennifer Delora’s Amanda and William Russell’s Alfred look like they are taking this remotely serious with the cannon fodder providing extremely wooden performances. The gothic manor setting is another plus, and truly helps to create dread as our body-count slowly builds…” Bloody Flicks

“There’s some nudity, one sex scene (which is naturally what the Lust alternate title tries to capitalize on), just enough blood and an adequate wrap-up flashback to explain things. Manor is also one of the dreariest, more atmospheric U.S. slashers of its time, with a decent shooting location, effective art direction inside the home and incredibly dark and gloomy photography. It’s dumb but surprisingly watchable.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“By the time any real carnage is unleashed, it may be too little, too late for some viewers, but what may really sink this enterprise, in the long run, is a complete lack of logic when it comes to the kind of mind-boggling finale […] the actual villains and their motivations turn out to be pretty random at best and completely nonsensical at worst.” Blu-ray.com

“Perhaps Larraz, and the slasher genre, were just running out of steam by 1990 as Deadly Manor just never gets the momentum it needs going. Still, Larraz soaks proceedings in an effective sense of dread, there’s a fair bit of nudity to ramp up the exploitation vibe and as mentioned, the finale is worth waiting for meaning Deadly Manor is still worth a watch for die-hard slasher fans and completists.” Blueprint: Review

“The main problem is the decided lack of action here, managing to feature hardly anything happening for long stretches of time that it becomes quite dull simply watching the group wander through one creepy room to the next. The build-up is admittedly successful in creating a strong atmosphere but hardly ever is that atmosphere ever given any significant boost that would propel itself along as the generally tepid pacing where nothing is going on.” Don’s World of Horror and Exploitation

” …culminates into a climax with a killer whose motivations are loose at best, with her reasoning behind the murders being that she saw one of the kids riding a motorcycle. Yes, it’s silly and stupid, but despite a fair amount of unintentional comedy, there’s very little lasting power, relegating it to the pile of dozens of other uninspired slashers that were born out of the ’80s boom.” Film Pulse

” …there is plenty of sex and nudity to keep you entertained, and after a while, even the dire acting seems to gel with the strange atmosphere to create something worth sticking to the end for. The pacing itself does pick up a bit after 45 minutes of wandering around a house clearly owned by a demented killer (and yet they still want to stay) and discover what we, the audience, already know.” Frighfest 

“Larraz’s penultimate feature film and his last in the horror genre, 1990’s Deadly Manor is a lifeless slasher outing that’s about eight years late to the Friday the 13th ripoff party […] I guess there’s some surprises in their order of exit–the one who’s overly cautious, legitimately afraid and keeps saying “We need to get out of here” (Claudia Franjul) would usually be the final girl, but here, she’s the first one to bite it.” Good Efficient Butchery

“The movie lacks any form of logic and despite several red herrings offers a totally irrational explanation for the killings and one of the most ludicrous endings the genre has to offer. It takes a while for anything to happen – too long in fact – but once the slashing finally begins, it moves at a better pace […] Deadly Manor offers a “so bad it’s good” experience with its terrible dialogue and worse acting.” Horror DNA

” …awesome looking creepy mansion… filled with cobwebs, coffins in the basement, a biker graveyard, and provocative photos of the same woman all over the walls. Feels a little slow here and there but what it lacks for in originality and gore (there’s a bunch of ‘ok’ throat slashes and one real good one) it makes up for with a solid 1990 slasher atmos with a ramped-up final 15 minutes that made it worthwhile for me.” Ian West

“The scenario is unimaginative, the acting tragic, there’s little in the way of suspense or horror, and nothing actually happens for ages (except lots of heavy petting). And when it does its an anti-climax. Even the kills are nothing to get excited about. And as for the disfigured face make-up – OMG! truly amateurish.” Kultguy’s Keep

“In between death scenes, these characters toss around some of the worst dialogue and make some of the dumbest decisions you could ever see in a horror movie. When people say they don’t like horror because movies in the genre are “stupid”, Deadly Manor is the sort of movie they’re talking about. The characters do some things that are mind-boggling, they’re so dumb.” Life Between Frames

“Though the plotting of this film is really shaggy at best, that quality also makes it stand out a bit since there’s really no way you can possibly predict who will make it to the end […] the cast is fairly generic body count fodder, but they have some silly lines at times and get to run around in the dark a lot […] it’s a diverting time killer with enough atmosphere and eccentricity to merit a visit or two.” Mondo Digital

” …a fun little slasher film that, despite bad (at first) acting and a lot of the film shrouded in darkness, making it hard to see, was still fun. The gore effects were mainly used in the last half-hour and they are fine […] Also, none of the characters were unlikable (minus the killers), making the film that much better.” Not This Time, Nayland Smith

“Not nearly as inspired or original as Larraz’s better efforts, Deadly Manor is nevertheless an entertaining low budget slasher film with a couple of interesting twists and just enough style to work. It’s no unsung classic of the genre, in fact, the story is full of clichés and it all feels like something we’ve seen done before (and done better at that), but the location works quite well and the cinematography isn’t bad at all.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …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.” Search My Trash

” …features too many scenes of the characters trying to scare each other in hallways (more than one character uses a bad Boris Karloff impression), or stumbling around the dark with flashlights. It also doesn’t help that most of the characters grate on your nerves […] Plus, the flashback that explains everything is pretty lame and the make-up on Delora is awful.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Peter [Jerry Kernion]: “What’s next, Uncle Fester on the patio?”

Cast and characters:

Clark Tufts … Jack
Greg Rhodes … Tony
Claudia Franjul … Helen
Mark Irish … Rod
Elizabeth Baldwin … Susan (as Liz Hitchler)
Jerry Kernion … Peter
Kathleen Patane … Anne
Douglas Gowland … Trooper
Jennifer Delora … Amanda
Richard Rohr … Dead body falling out of the wall (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Suffern, New York – The film was shot on location at Hillburn Manor, a derelict hundred-year-old mansion in the fall of 1989. The Davidson sisters, who inherited the home, resided on the upper floor while the film was shot over a period of five weeks. The home, which was in a state of significant disrepair, was demolished after filming completed.

Alternate title:

Savage Lust

Trivia:

Originally known in the shooting script as “Forgotten Flesh”.

Trailer:

Watch Savage Lust trailer on YouTube

  

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