Maniac Mansion

Maniac Mansion

"Of course it exists. We're in it."

Lost in a fog late a t night, five travelers take refuge in a dark abandoned mansion. The group includes motorcyclist Fred (Andrés Resino), hitchhiker Laura (Lisa Leonardi), lascivious Mr. Porter (Franco Fantasia), skittish Elsa (Analía Gadé), and the Tremonts (Yelena Samarina and Eduardo Fajardo). They soon find that they are not alone when the house's owner, Martha (Ida Galli, credited as Evelin Stewart) appears from the darkness. Her tales of a witch ancestor and local legends about vampires terrify Elsa, who was attacked by mysterious figures in the cemetery outside the house. What are the eerie clawing noises coming from the cellar? Is the house really inhabited by zombies or vampires or ghosts? Or is there a more diabolical – and human – explanation behind this mystery?

Ugh, this movie.  Maniac Mansion (not to be confused with Slaughter Hotel) is a bit of a bait-and-switch. After a slow and meandering exposition the movie ratchets itself up as a standard Gothic tale with all the manufactured atmosphere and production value of a carnival's haunted house ride. It's not until the last fifteen minutes that it reveals itself to be a giallo.  The mystery isn't in figuring out the identity of a killer, but in unraveling the ultimate motives of an overly-elaborate scheme. 
  • There's some real talent in front of the camera on this one, including Ida Galli (from The Bloodstained Butterfly and La Dolce Vita), Franco Fantasia (Seven Blood Stained Orchids and El Cid) and George Rigaud (The Case of the Bloody Iris and Death Walks on High Heels).
  • Believe it or not, this movie actually won an award. Eduardo Fajardo took home Best Supporting Actor at Spain's National Syndicate of Spectacle Awards in 1972.
  • There are several love scenes but no nudity in the film.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

The creepiest thing in the movie isn't the spooky atmosphere or the zombie vampire witches – it's learning about Elsa's daddy issues. Her father (George Rigaud) died of a heart attack while having an affair with her best friend in Elsa's bed. (*shudder*) In a flashback, we watch her take revenge by sleeping with her future no-good husband Ernest (Alberto Dalbés) in her father's bed.

They keep referring to the nearby city as "Mullen." Is it possible that they're all mispronouncing "Milan?"

Fashion Moment

Martha's luxurious silk robe stands out as the only pop of color in this drab little movie.

Laura's fitted leather jacket is also pretty chic. Can't say the same for Fred's bold plaid.


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