DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Jose Larraz
Clark Tufts, Greg Rhodes, Claudia Franjul
Writing Credits:
Jose Larraz

A group of teenagers take refuge in an old, deserted mansion, where they find deadly ramifications.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 2/25/2020

• Audio Commentary with Film Writers Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
• “House of Whacks” Featurette
• “Making a Killing” Featurette
• Archival Interview with Jose Larraz
• Image Gallery
• VHS Trailer
• Original Promo


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Deadly Manor [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 6, 2020)

While I’d like to describe 1990’s Deadly Manor as a forgotten horror movie, that implies anyone knew it existed in the first place. I can’t figure out if the film earned any form of theatrical release or if it simply wound up as yet another direct-to-video offering in the golden age of VHS.

Three couples head for a camping trip at remote lake house. When they get lost en route, they pick up a hitchhiker (Clark Tufts) who claims he can help them locate it.

Eventually they wind up at a deserted, run-down mansion. Though Helen (Claudia Franjul) warns the others that she senses something amiss, the rest refuse to leave.

Score one for Helen, as her instincts prove correct. Bad things start to happen to the various inhabitants, as they turn out not to be alone.

No one will call that an original plot concept, as it uses the same framework seen all the way back in 1932’s Old Dark House. Despite the well-worn nature of the narrative, the basic premise comes with plenty of potential for tension and thrills.

Nothing of that sort emerges in the relentlessly dull Manor. Slow and amateurish, the movie dawdles and drags.

Most of the film’s first act devotes itself to simplistic exposition, and these scenes stretch on far too long. Everything we see in the opening half-hour could be tightened up and rendered more effective in less time.

Given that Manor runs a mere 86 minutes, I assume the filmmakers dragged out the first act just to fill space. It becomes a bad choice, as an audience in search of horror will just find tedium for an awful long span.

As the movie progresses, it eventually embraces a more active sense of terror, but even during its most dramatic moments, it still seems slow and aimless. The characters never become anything more than loose stereotypes, so we feel disconnected from them.

If you don’t care about what happens to the participants, a movie like this loses a lot of potential impact. Some horror flicks compensate with sheer gore, and Manor does attempt some bloody nastiness.

These efforts don’t balance out the dreary nature of the story, though. Whereas movies in the Friday the 13th series entertained fans with their creative kills, nothing memorable occurs in that vein here.

You’ll not find a single recognizable name among the actors, and I can’t say any deserved successful careers. Across the board, we find stiff, amateurish performances that seem iffy even by the low standards of the genre – and it’s ludicrous that they play teens, as they all look like they’re in their thirties.

Manor does let us occasionally ogle some attractive nekkid women, so I can’t call it a total loss. As a suspenseful or scary horror movie, though, it flops.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

Deadly Manor appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I didn’t expect much from the image, but it looked quite good.

Sharpness was largely positive. A few wider shots appeared a little on the soft side, but the majority of the movie came across with nice accuracy and delineation.

I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and the image lacked edge haloes. With a reasonable amount of grain, I didn’t sense any intrusive digital noise reduction, and print flaws were absent.

Colors seemed appealing. Manor went with a natural palette, and these felt well-developed.

Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed appropriate clarity. I felt the transfer held up surprisingly well.

As for the movie’s PCM mono soundtrack, it came across as acceptable given the sonic limitations. A movie from 1990 – even a cheap one like this – should offer multi-channel audio, so I docked the mix points due to its monaural orientation.

Speech seemed fairly natural. The lines could feel a bit reedy, and we got some iffy looping at times, but dialogue remained intelligible and without edginess or other obvious concerns.

Music displayed acceptable heft and dimensionality, while effects appeared moderately accurate and concise. This felt like a passable track for a movie from 1990.

The Blu-ray comes with a mix of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from film writers Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the genre and aspects of the movie as well as thoughts about cast and crew, with an emphasis on director Jose Larraz.

While we do learn about the film and its creators, much of the commentary focuses on an appraisal of the movie – with an emphasis on “praise”. Ellinger and Deighan love the movie, and they make sure we know this.

They also point out many potential problems, though they appear to view the filmmaking issues as positives. While the mention the many nonsensical plot moments, they seem to see these as a good thing.

Why? I don’t really know, but I find it odd that two film buffs would actively praise a movie’s incoherence and lack of logic. While we get some good thoughts at times, the perplexing defense of the film makes it tough to swallow at times.

Two new interviews appear, and under House of Whacks, we find a 32-minute, 53-second chat with actor Jennifer Delora. She discusses her career and her work on Manor.

For better or for worse, Delora shows an excitable, frank personality. She can be a little annoying but I appreciate her honesty, especially when she airs grievances about co-star Greg Rhodes.

Via Making a Killing, we locate a seven-minute, three-second conversation with producer Brian Smedley-Aston. He gets into various aspects of the production in this short but engaging piece.

Next comes an Archival Interview with director Jose Larraz. This reel spans three minutes, 42 seconds and gives us notes about the problematic sex scene Delora discusses.

It’s good to get Larraz’s perspective, even if he largely shares Delora’s POV. Due to poor recording quality and Larraz’s accent, though, it can be tough to understand what he says.

An Original Promo goes for four minutes, 23 seconds and offers a mix of movie scenes. It resembles a trailer but it gives away too much plot information.

We also find a VHS trailer for the film, retitled Savage Lust. It also shows us too much and telegraphs the fates on some characters.

Finally, the disc provides an Image Gallery with 180 stills. These mix shots from the set and publicity elements. Though we get plenty of pictures, few seem memorable.

An obscure horror flick from 1990, Deadly Manor offers another spin on the haunted house genre. It brings nothing fresh or entertaining to the table, so it ends up as a dull stab at terror. The Blu-ray boasts surprisingly good visuals along with adequate audio and a few bonus materials. Don’t expect a lost gem from this tedious dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Main