Blood Mania (1970)

FEBRUARY 17, 2010


For the 3rd time this week, my horror movie choice is rather horror-lite, even though unlike the others, it’s the only one with “HORROR” as its only genre on its IMDb page, right next to its tagline that promises “A night of unspeakable terror!”. And the title is Blood Mania for Christ’s sake! But the horror stuff takes up MAYBE two minutes of the movie, which is otherwise a talky melodrama about an unbalanced woman fighting her sister over an inheritance AND the affections of a douchebag doctor.

Luckily, it’s kind of entertaining in its own trashy low-key way. Pretty much everyone in the movie (except the sister) is despicable, and director Robert Vincent O'Neill seemingly enforced every letter of their “YES-nudity” clauses. Maria De Aragon in particular spends half of the movie in some state of undress, though there are also hilariously odd moments where she is OVER-dressed sprinkled throughout, such as when she removes a white blouse to reveal... a sweater underneath? What the hell?

I also love the movie’s opening credits, especially in hindsight as they have nearly zero relation to the movie. It’s basically a bunch of crazy filters and a guy chasing a woman around in what appears to be backstage during a theatrical production of the comic book transition scenes in Creepshow. Cool animation to reveal the title too. A few such more “freakout” scenes are inserted at random throughout the film, and damned if I don’t suspect they were added in late in the editing process when the filmmakers realized that they didn’t make the horror movie they likely promised to. Or they realized their smutty melodrama was kind of dull and needed something to spice it up, regardless of whether or not it fit. Either way, it adds to the film’s odd charm.

And Alex Rocco shows up! He plays the lawyer who reads the will that finally sets the plot in motion at the 50 minute mark, and is also pretty much the only person in the film who doesn’t have a sex scene (thankfully). The scene is a delight as well, as the girl has a full blown meltdown after finding out that she will only get 250 bucks a week for allowance while her sister gets the bulk of the dough. But she carries on while sitting in a chair (and it pretty much all occurs in one unmoving camera shot), which lends the scene an odd quality as you never really see anyone else’s reactions to her outburst.

And I loved that I could SEE the movie. While I’m no longer as impressed with the Gorehouse Greats’ abundance of anamorphic transfers, Blood Mania actually seems to be remastered as well, or at least taken from a high quality source. When there’s a close or medium shot on someone, you can see detail in their face! It’s the best transfer I have ever seen on a Mill Creek release, which is all the more impressive when you consider it’s a 40 year old obscuro.

That tagline, however, is total bullshit. Even if you buy the film’s minimal “terror” as truly being “unspeakable”, it takes place over several weeks, not one night. And on that note, tomorrow’s movie better be full blown horror, goddammit! Friday will probably be Shutter Island, which I know is also more of a thriller (but they are marketing it as a ghost movie and pushing it to the horror sites); I don’t want to let things get TOO loose around here.

What say you?

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  1. I liked Blood Mania-it was a sleazy, fun cheapjack drive-in "thriller". I miss Crown International-style movies and hate today's big budget CG effect bullshit. The Gorehouse greats set is fuckin fantastic since it costs less than $5 online for 12(!) movies. check out Millcreeks 12 packs Cult Terror Cinema and Savage Cinema for more Crown Drive-In hijinks!!!!!!!!!

  2. I have a theory that the girl in the opening sequence was Gail, being pursued by her own father. This would explain her being estranged from him, as well as another quick flashback later in the film as well as some hints that Gail lets out. Then again, who knows?


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