Deadly Manor (aKa Savage Lust) is a 1990 slasher film co-written & directed by José Ramón Larraz (Edge of the Axe, Stigma, Symptoms, & The House that Vanished). It was co-written & produced by Brian Smedley-Aston (Paul Raymond’s Erotica). It was produced by Stanley Bickman (Brain Twisters, Battle of Blood Island, & The Brain Eaters), Alexander W. Kogan Jr. (The Crazies, The Chill Factor, Trapped Alive, & Graverobbers), & Barry Tucker (Doom Asylum, The Inheritor, & Monstrosity). Whilst en route to a lake, a group of youngsters that includes Peter (played by: Jerry Kernion from Rebel, Campus Cops , King Cobra, & Baby Face Nelson), Anne (played by: Kathleen Patane from Law & Order), Tony (played by: Greg Rhodes from Ghosthouse, Fatal Exam, & Prom Night II), Helen (played by: Claudia Franjul), Rod (played by: Mark Irish from Nurse Jackie), & Susan (played by: Liz Hitchler from Sydney) make an unscheduled stop-off at a remote abandoned mansion where they plan to spend the night after picking up hitchhiker Jack (played by: Clark Tufts from Voodoo). The unknown property is full of foreboding signs which includes a blood-stained car wreck in the garden, coffins in the basement, scalps in the closet, & photographs of a beautiful but mysterious woman (played by: Jennifer Delora from Frankenhooker, Deranged, Bad Girls Dormitory, & Robot Holocaust) adorning every corner of the house. People start missing, trust goes away, & the tension starts to build up. Before daybreak, the group will unwittingly uncover the strange & terrifying truth that lurks behind the walls of this dreadful place. Can they survive the entire night at this creepy location????
Unlike his previous film Edge of the Axe, Deadly Manor was actually shot in America. It was no longer a Spanish production desperately trying to give off an American vibe. I thought this one had a better script & twist compared to José Ramón Larraz’s other slasher. It was made very late during the slasher craze, that sub-genre was starting to die down & it wasn’t as popular as it used to be. It still did decent in video rental stores but it wasn’t hitting theaters or anything like that. Deadly Manor feels more like a traditional slasher than other foreign made films produced during the same time. It had a solid flow to it & the suspense kept you waiting to see what was going to happen next. The acting was just okay besides a few performers. I really enjoyed Jennifer Delora & William Russell (Doctor Who) in this. They brought some experience to this young cast. It delivered on the nudity, it had solid kills, & some impressive old school special fx when it came to the gore. The atmosphere was great here, the production design & mansion were top notch. I do appreciate that it explained stuff during the end & the back story was interesting in this. I enjoyed Edge of the Axe a little more than this but this was very fun & entertaining. I think it’s cool that Arrow Video are bringing back these forgotten 80 horror films to home video again, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Arrow Video! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is from a brand new 2K restoration from the original film elements. Deadly Manor never even got a official DVD release in the states. I remember the Savage Lust VHS & this is major improvement over that old home video release. It looks so much better now, it got the proper treatment it deserved with this brand new blu ray. As I said above, Deadly Manor is all about it’s creepy atmosphere & it’s almost like another character here. It’s one of the true highlights of the production. The English: LPCM Mono track is better than expected especially for being a low budget independent horror feature. The dialogue is very clean, all the madness is elevated, & the music has a killer boost to it. It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Arrow Video! “Audio Commentary” with Kat Ellinger & Samm Deighan. “House of Whacks” is almost 33 minute interview with horror veteran & actress Jennifer Delora. She says this was the last B movie that she did. She chats about how she got involved with the project. She says the original title on the script was Forgotten Flesh. She mentions she got offered the role right away. She talks about the locations & her experience filming it. She brings up working with director José Ramón Larraz for this. She talks about them planning a sequel to this but it never happened. She tells a few stories about the productions & talks about problems she had with a few actors from this. The little over 7 minute “Making a Killing” interview with producer Brian Smedley-Aston. He chats about working with & his creative relationship with director José Ramón Larraz. He mentions other projects that they worked on together. He brings up that dialogue was never one of his strong points, he just wanted to get to the entertainment. He talks about his experience on this film & helping putting it together. He mentions various people he brought in for it. He says he was surprised that he got a writing credit for it on IMDB after working on it. The almost 4 minute “Archival Interview with Jose Larraz” is a chat with the cult director from the mid 90s. He tells the same sex story that Jennifer Delora mentions in her interview. He talks about fixing a big problem while trying to make Deadly Manor. It has some promotional items like the “Savage Lust VHS Trailer”, original little over 4 minute “Promo” spot, & an almost 3 minute “Image Gallery” features a variety of photos from the film. It also has reversible artwork & a 25 page booklet with pictures plus information about the production. Pick this up with Edge of the Axe & have a José Ramón Larraz double slasher feature like I did. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!