From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Its bloodthirsty title aside there isn’t much blood in Blood Mania. In fact, the only on-screen murder occurs more than sixty minutes into this ninety-minute slow-burn thriller with a twist.
Victoria (Maria De Aragon) is waiting for her bedridden father Ridgely (Eric Allison) to die: he’s sitting, or shall we say laying, on a fortune. Victoria’s wants to give her expected inheritance to a doctor named Craig (Peter Carpenter). Although Craig doesn’t appear to be interested in her, Victoria has fallen in love with him and she wants to help: he’s being blackmailed for performing illegal abortions—a little fact that would surely bring his esteemed tenure at the local hospital to an end.
But Ridgely doesn’t leave his fortune to Victoria, he leaves it to her long-lost sister Gail (Vicki Peters), someone who skipped out years ago but has showed up for the reading of the will. Some think Victoria played a role in her father’s death. If so, will her sister Gail meet a similar fate? And what about that blackmailer (Arell Blanton)? He knows about the illegal abortions that Craig used to perform but does he know something even more sinister?
Director Robert Vincent O’Neil and cinematographers Gary Graver and Robert Maxwell imbue Blood Mania with shining attention to detail and a love of cinema. Every frame in this film is perfectly composed, arty, and dramatically lit. The effect is that the actors—with their picture-perfect faces and bodies—seem like living dolls on a giant baroque stage.
Disregard the poor title and misleading poster art, Blood Mania is a well done suspenser. Low angles, shadows, great music and clever use of textures and colors make it an hallucinating experience, one that brings to mind the equally better-than-it-needs-to-be Alice, Sweet Alice. Underrated and under-seen.
Josiah Howard is the author of four books including Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing). His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times and Readers Digest. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, Howard also lectures on cinema and is a frequent guest on entertainment news television. Visit his Official Website.