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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Deadly Manor (1990)

Here we have another Spanish production shot in upstate New York with an American cast. These can either be fun or a complete mess. Sometimes like in the case of Pieces it is both! I suppose it is time to see where Deadly Manor will land on that scale.

This “late to the game feels like an eighties horror flick” kicks off interestingly enough. We see some naked bodies lying on the side of the road from an apparent motorcycle accident. Were they riding naked? What happened? Why does a car speed off? Warning guys this is the sort of movie that will drive you nuts if you try and apply logic to. After this interesting bit and some credits, we get to the main story.

There are some annoying young adults driving to the lake for vacation. They get lost and pick up a hitchhiker named Jack who claims to know his way around. Because picking up hitchhikers in horror movies never goes wrong… It gets dark so they drive off on a side road before finding a creepy old house. Seems like a nice place to spend the night. You know because trespassing in a creepy old house never ends up badly in a horror movie… I think that the scriptwriters for Deadly Manor had a checklist and were determined to hit all the tropes. People wander off to eventually get killed (more on that later) before we figure out who is killing them and why. Then the police show up and the movie mercifully ends.

This was painful. I’ve seen much worse flicks as far as execution. The shots are in frame, the cast delivers lines, and there is kind of a story that makes sense. But the pacing is the worst. After an opening scene that got my attention, we are treated to forty minutes of characters talking and arguing while the hitchhiker glares at them and looks suspicious. The first kill does only take twenty minutes, but we don’t see it and don’t know that it is a kill until much later. All the mayhem is concentrated in the last thirty minutes of the movie. This means that by the time anything of note actually happens I had long stopped caring about what I was watching.

If this wasn’t bad enough, we have characters disappear only to reappear much later without explanation. There is a bit of dialogue where someone is concerned that they can find Peter and Anne but the next time we see them they are still sleeping in the same room that the concerned character just stepped out of! Also does Jack die? He just disappears and is only mentioned because the cops that show up to save the day were looking for him as he was an escaped convict. There is even a dream sequence to further muddle things as I was thinking this was some sort of haunting movie. But later we find out it is a just a crazy man and his disfigured wife. So does that mean the character was just having a “grown up” dream of the woman? If so then why do we see her disfigured face and all stroll up to the bed. We don’t find out about the accident until much later so the character couldn’t possibly have known this.

See what happens when your movie is so boring I start to pay attention to the details? It doesn’t end well. Toss in some subpar gore with most of the kills being offscreen and what we do see nothing more than simple throat cuttings for the cherry on top of this turd sundae. I know that sounds a bit harsh but there is such a minimal effort put into Deadly Manor that I’m annoyed enough to go there. Obviously, I’m not going to recommend this one.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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