This movie was bad. BAD. Imagine being put through the stress of time travel and emerging to almost Scooby-Doo-esque swingers cavorting topless through a plot so boring and pointless it constantly needs to recede into boobs and horny pool boys (I guess I already mentioned the boobs, but the movie had A LOT of them). I know this sounds like it’s an offshoot of Porky’s but no, it’s (dum da dum) BLOOD MANIA! Oooo, ahhhh, sounds terrifying (or at least bloody), right?
Look at that picture, read the yellow ‘Warning’ the film makers felt the need to adhere to the graphic. Well, I guess it’s a bit small and I’m not really that great with photoshop so let me translate:
“Come Prepared for the shocking climax. The last 15 minutes will jolt you right out of your seat!”
And did the last fifteen minutes jolt me out of my seat? Sadly, no. Well maybe, because by the time it ended I was just so relieved the fucking thing was over that I guess I did jump out of my seat to switch it off and look for something better to watch. My friend Michael was over and he kept asking me why I didn’t just turn it off to begin with, but you know, I always feel if I’m going to write about something in a critical way, then I should probably watch the entire thing. What if the end turned out to be such an existential displace of film making mastery that… well, ha, that wasn’t really likely to happen, but still, everything gets its day in court.
But let me back-up for a moment.
A couple of months ago I picked this up at a 2nd hand record/DVD shop in Dayton, Ohio:
It’s been sitting on the shelf waiting for my mood to swing back around to grainy, late 60’s/early 70’s horror, which I did, sort of, after watching Marathon Man recently. Now I know Marathon Man is not horror, but there is a kinship or at least correlation between these two movies because they were both done in a period of film-making history when experimentation was influencing everything from cinematic score to camera angles to location to lighting. And as bad as the plot, dialogue and acting in Blood Mania is, the film does contain some genuinely nice moments in most of these other areas.
First, who doesn’t enjoy seeing the bachelor pads of the late 60’s/early 70’s on film? Similar to Bob Newhart or Mary Tyler Moore’s living rooms except functionally leaning a little bit more toward the rabid swinger, Peter Carpenter’s character Dr. Cooper’s pad is swank as all get out, not to mention a great place for cinematographers Gary Graver and Bob Maxwell to get a little crazy with angles, mirror shots and the like.
Then there’s the score. Also indicative of the time Don Vincent’s score is loaded with blazing wah guitar, jazz-crazy drums and supple bass. I’ve seen more than one person complain about the score while searching around on the internet for other commentary and all I can say is screw that – I spent a good half hour after the flick just looking for some waaaaaay out-of-print soundtrack, which I would buy in a minute if it existed.
Horror went through interesting mutations during the late 60’s/early 70’s – Blood Mania is not one of them because other than the completely misleading opening sequence there is nothing horror about this flick, despite the description on the back of that box that describes the film as, “A nightmare of unspeakable terror, this Gothic-like horror tale…”