Plot: What’s it about?
In Blood Mania, Dr. Craig (Peter Carpenter) has found himself in some serious trouble. In order to pay off his medical school bills, Craig turned to performing illegal abortions. The man who facilitated these black market abortions is now blackmailing Craig, asking for fifty-thousand dollars. At the same time, Victoria (Maria De Aragon) is tired of caring for her severely ill, wealthy, and cruel father. She has been at his side for years and stands to inherit his fortune, but the old man refuses to die. Soon she and Craig begin a torrid affair that includes some medicinal party favors, which Craig tells her are dangerous and could even kill someone if they had a heart condition. Victoria takes that information and runs with it, using the inhalant to push her father into death’s arms. Craig stands to clear his debt and Victoria has the money and her man, but things take an unexpected turn when her father leaves all the money to her estranged sister…
Blood Mania is the real draw of this double feature and is quite the fever dream of a movie. Not so much horror as tense thriller, the movie has a brisk pace and offers little room for boredom. Peter Carpenter is as wild as usual and provides some great reactions, facial expressions, and line delivery. I especially enjoyed the moments where he attempts levity, as they are simply priceless. Despite the title, Blood Mania doesn’t have a ton of gore and the blood is limited to a few non graphic scenes. There is a good amount of nudity and sex however, so the genre staples are present. The movie is just unpredictable in terms of what people will say or do and never fails to entertain. I can see why people who don’t partake of cult cinema might be bored here, but I find Blood Mania to be quite a good time. The performances, especially Carpenter’s are fun to watch and the authentic attempt to make an effective thriller helps the movie shine. These kind of cult movies are not going to please everyone, but for fans of the genre, Blood Mania is a wacky good time, especially when presented in this double feature version.
Point of Terror is the B side of this double feature and follows Tony (Peter Carpenter), a small time lounge singer with grand ambitions. He performs for small crowds, but uses his good looks and charisma to make the ladies in the audience swoon. While he has a girlfriend (she thinks so anyway), he dreams of meeting a woman with a ton of cash, so he can live in the lap of luxury and expand his musical career. He gets the chance when Andrea (Dyanne Thorne) enters the picture, the frustrated wife of a jealous, wheelchair ridden husband. Soon Tony is swept into a dangerous romance that promises him untold wealth and fame, but with serious risk as well. But when Andrea kills her husband and Tony sees the murder himself, he discovers he is in way over his head. Can Tony ever find his sugar momma or has he tangled with the wrong femme fatale?
Point of Terror starts off well with a strange performance by Peter Carpenter, but soon slows down and becomes a rather mediocre dramatic thriller. The pace is decent enough, but some slow stretches take a toll on the overall fun involved. Not much blood and no real horror elements, though some nakedness does roll out. The film’s visuals are quite cool at times however and while the story is so-so, the performances are more than solid. Carpenter carries the movie in a swarthy, swaggering performance that ensures even the dull moments have some luster. The ending is miserable however, with about as cliched a conclusion as you’ll find. It is clear that Point of Terror is to be seen as a bonus for buying Blood Mania and in that light, it adds good value and fans of offbeat movies will at least want to give it a look.
Video: How’s it look?
Both films sport new transfers taken from the camera negative and look impressive. Vinegar Syndrome has been excellent with their visual presentations and these prove to be no exception. The print looks mostly clean and even pristine at times, but doesn’t look overly scrubbed or washed out. The colors look bold and balanced, especially in Point of Terror, while contrast is stark and even. A clean, faithful looking treatment for each of these cult treasures.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The soundtracks are as good as you can ask, with no real flaws I could detect. The music sounded good, especially in Point of Terror, and the dialogue never feels muddled or lost in the mix. The basic elements are clear and clean, with no drawbacks to distract or annoy the viewer. Of course, being mono soundtracks you won’t be dazzled, but these movies sound terrific.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Blood Mania boasts an audio commentary track with the director and two actresses, while additional interviews with the director and one actress are also included. You’ll also find television ads and theatrical trailers for each film and to me, those are always worth a look. This three disc limited edition also includes an exclusive disc that contains the alternate television versions of the movies, which collectors will be delighted to own.