Raise your hand if you have ever been on a road trip, got tired because it was taking too long to get to your destination, and pulled off the road to break into the first house you could find to spend the night. I myself have not. But that’s exactly the premise of this week’s José Ramón Larraz movie, Deadly Manor.
I could almost see crashing somewhere you do not belong for the night if you were actually stranded. But because you just got sick of riding in the perfectly functional car? It makes me glad this movie is a slasher, because the characters deserve to die for being so stupid. I don’t even need to make a new horror movie rule for this; you all should know already that you don’t just break into someone’s house to sleep. Especially after you have just picked up a creepy hitchhiker who was dropped off by a semi carrying a Bob’s Big Boy at the beginning of the movie. (Where did Larraz even get one of those, and why?)
Not only is the house chosen seemingly at random, it also has a weird shrine to a crashed car out front, scalps on the mantle, coffins in the basement, and makes one girl in the group run away screaming that the place is evil. Every review says the same thing: Larraz was playing with slasher conventions. The characters die in a different order from what you would think; also, the killer gets arrested at the end, which never happens. This is an enjoyable movie with a bit of the Euro horror sensibility. It’s better than most late 80s slashers, and by that I am not damning with faint praise. You know how I love the 80s.
So, basically, I have nothing to add to the other online commentaries on Deadly Manor, save for this: one of the characters is credited as a Greg Rhodes, but he is quite obviously the same guy who is credited as Greg Scott in Ghosthouse. He also has two IMDb pages which don’t mention each other; one ends in 1990 and the other in 1995. So Greg, if you are one of those people who has Google alerts set up for yourself, and you’re reading this, what is the deal? Ghosthouse is one of my favorite movies of all time, dude, and you did a good job of carrying the movie as the main character. And in both Ghosthouse and Deadly Manor you absolutely rock a vest. What happened to you since 1995? Do you still have an acting career under a third name, or are you selling real estate? Teaching drama in a high school somewhere? I’m sure I’m not the only fan who wonders.