Wicked Wednesday: Deadly Manor (1990)

Ah, summer. Days full of sunshine, camping, road trips and murderers in masks.

Is there anything more certain than death to all teenagers who dare take a road trip in a horror movie? We all know it never bodes well.

In 1990’s Deadly Manor, we get a group of kids who are on their way to a lake. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker, who tells them that they are still hours away from their destination despite already having driven all day.

They eventually decide to go off the path and stop for the night. Lucky (or rather unlucky) for them, they come across an old mansion in the woods. Outside the mansion is a totaled car on a plinth with what appears to be a shrine to a beautiful woman inside it.

Immediately, Helen begins to feel unsettled. Her friends all encourage her to calm down, but eventually the girl decides to head back through the woods alone.

And yes – this is the last of Helen.

In the meantime, the rest of the gang break into the old house. They discover fun things like coffins in the basement, walls full of photographs of that random lady, and a big crack in the wall. But most unsettling, despite the fact that the house looks certainly abandoned, the group find a copy of the newspaper from the day before.

Tony begins to have visions of the woman in the photographs. Unable to sleep after his dreams of her, he begins to explore the house again. He comes face-to-face with the hitchhiker, Jack. Though ol’ Tony has Jack sussed out – he’s an escaped con! Only this doesn’t matter much because soon both of these boys are dead.

Each of the kids are being picked off one-by-one by a lady in a white mask. Could this figure with the excellently permed hair possibly be the same woman as the one in the photographs who also has permed hair?

This is a late 80s/early 90s slasher. There isn’t much original happening here, and I could have probably dictated you the entire plot from the 10 minute mark. But the ‘twist’ is so utterly stupid, it’s almost impressive (and yes I enjoyed it).

Towards the end of the film, I was feeling rather annoyed that so many plot points seemed pointless. It wasn’t until about the list five minutes or so that we’re given explanations to anything. And I’m not necessarily talking about big reveals or plot twists here.

Deadly Manor makes the mistake of having too many characters. Sure, I guess you need someone to kill off. But we doesn’t spend enough time with any one person bar Tony who just goes and dies anyway. If no one is really likeable or even memorable; you don’t really feel anything when they do inevitably to get offed.

The actress who place Anne is good. But I was convinced the entire movie that she’d be the first to go. We barely know a thing about her. So it’s difficult to root for her at the end. It’s the actor’s likability that works more than the writing does.

So this pretty much boils down to an rather run-of-the mill slasher. Nothing truly bad about it at all, but probably one I’ll forget about in a week’s time.

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