'Deadly Manor: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Clark Tufts, Greg Rhodes, Claudia Franjul, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1990) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: A group of teenagers take refuge in an old, deserted mansion. Soon the members of the group start turning up dead, and the teenagers realize that they're not alone in the mansion.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, 'Deadly Manor' is a strange slasher flick directed by Joseph Larraz. Other Larraz films I've seen took place either in England or in Spain ('Deviation', 'Vampyres' and 'Black Candles') and featured sophisticated, and yet delightfully ambiguous characters. But 'Deadly Manor' was filmed in the USA and its characters are a bunch of stereotyped American teenagers!
The story plays out like this: A group of teenagers are heading for a place situated by a lake with a strange name, but they don't know its exact location.
On their way they pick up a hitcher that seems to know the area. But the lake they are going to is still hours away and they take refuge in a seemingly abandoned old mansion.
Once there, the mansion oozes something sinister within it, they can all feel it, and so by dusk, and as it looms there menacingly before them, they all feel like they've been there before! Nevertheless, they decide to remain there for the night. (and so begins the "fun"!)
Larraz's first venture into the slasher genre was 'Edge of The Axe,' which was a fairly decent attempt with an interesting premise. Thus, I think that 'Deadly Manor' was made with an eye for the American market, but it still has that distinctive Larraz touch (like, it still maintains that zen vibe that pervades all his films.
The sex has been toned down and there's not much gore to speak of, and the film may feel kind of slow for the usual slasher film fans, but the strange atmosphere, the beautiful and minimalistic soundtrack, may well keep his horror fans tuned in.
Indeed, the ending twist which gives us all clarification of the manors history and what was indeed "lurking" there is rather reasonably, original and effective. So, yeah, the last ten minutes form a worthwhile swan song to Larraz' career, in my humble opinion.
In closing, those that like Larraz' films should give this one a try. Even if the characters may seem shallow when compared to those of his other films, 'Deadly Manor' is still interesting; if you like films for their atmosphere. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm 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
Original Script and Shooting Schedule (BD-ROM content)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author John Martin
Official 'Deadly Manor: Special Edition' Blu-ray Purchase Link