GOREHOUSE GREATS: Blood Mania (1970)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Wrazen is a Technical Director and Sound Designer for live theatre, specializing in the genre of horror, and is the Technical Director the Festival de la Bête Noire – a horror theatre festival held every February in Montreal, Canada. You can see Eric as an occasional host and performer on Bête Noire’s Screaming Sunday Variety Hour on Facebook live. An avid movie and music fanatic since an early age, this is Eric’s first foray into movie reviewing.

(From Wikipedia) Blood Mania is a 1970 American horror film written by Peter Carpenter and Tony Crechales and directed by Robert Vincent O’Neil, and starring Carpenter, Maria De Aragon, Vicki Peters, Reagan Wilson, Jacqueline Dalya, and Alex Rocco. The film stars Carpenter as a doctor whose mistress, an heiress, murders her terminally ill father to help him pay off a debt.

If there is one thing that can be said about Blood Mania, it’s that it’s a movie. 

You really have to hand to Mill Creek Entertainment. “Gore House Greats” is an amazing title for a movie collection. Likewise, Blood Mania is an amazing title for a movie. Unfortunately, in the case of Blood Mania, it is neither gory, nor that bloody. There’s a little bit of mania, so I guess they get points for that. 

The opening sequence for Blood Mania is a freaky dream sequence depicting the stalking of a hippie babe in a peekaboo nightie over the sounds of a budget version of the Velvet Underground detuning and abusing their instruments. OK. So far so great!

Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn’t come anywhere near this level of freakiness and fun.

A more apt title for Blood Mania would have been “Worlds Dumbest Doctor” or possibly, “Victoria, The Crazy Bitch”. Either of these is a better indicator of the easy, sleazy melodrama you are about to witness.

Briefly (and without spoilers) Bloody Mania follows the sordid tale of Dr. Craig Cooper, one hunky hunk of burning physician as he beds babes of varying levels of wealth in order to bang his way out of a bad debt. Even this synopsis makes Bloody Mania sound more interesting than it actually is. In reality, this movie is closer to a soap opera with a little nudity thrown in to keep things sleazy.

I feel that this movie would have been better pitched as a Russ Meyer or Doris Wishman style sexploitation flick. There’s plenty of sex and it includes a plethora of sexploitation’s favorite tropes like nymphomania, blackmail, abortion, lesbians, and drugs. It also uses a bunch of classic sexploitation tricks used to fill out the running time when there isn’t enough plot to fill 90 minutes. A fair portion of Blood Mania consists of people driving around, frolicking on the beach, or visiting an amusement park. This is the kind of movie that “fast forward” was invented for.

Blood Mania isn’t a good movie, nor is it a “so bad it’s good” movie. But it is a movie. And I guess for Mill Creek Entertainment – that counts for something.

Hey, we love this film so much that Bill Van Ryn of the Groovy Doom/Drive-In Asylum collective gave us his take Blood Mania, again, for Mill Creek’s Gorehouse Greats box set.

Update: July 21, 2021: We’ve also previously reviewed Peter’s work in his forth and final film — which he, as with Blood Mania, wrote and produced — Point of Terror. And, thanks to frequent reader and uber Peter Carpenter fan, librarian Mike Perkins (thus his awesome research), we learned of this new blog entry from B&S About Movies’ friend Mike Justice, on his The Eerie Midnight Night Detective Agency blog regarding Peter Carpenter’s life and all-too-short career. Strap it on, it’s a great read.

And, surf over to this really cool Flickr posting from Mike Perkins, featuring early photos of Peter. And, there’s no stopping Mr. Perkins’s fandom, as he also honored Peter by not only having Peter’s IMDb page updated with correct information, he created an all-new Find A Grave entry for Peter. Did you know that Peter’s real name was Nathaniel Joseph? Or that he was in the Air Force? We do now, thanks to Mike Perkins’s hard work.

Yeah, we love our readers! Thanks for contributing to B&S About Movies, Mr. Perkins! (Yeah, we love you too, Justice.) And we love it when our readers reinforce and uplift our passions in honoring the actors and filmmakers of our youth. You gotta fight for the ’cause!

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