In this insipid tale of murder and blackmail set in Los Angeles, Dr. Craig Cooper (Peter Carpenter) is assigned to care for Ridgeley Waterman (Eric Allison), once head of a hospital and now a bedridden stroke victim. Meanwhile, Larry (Arell Blanton) an old college friend of Cooper's, decides to blackmail his old pal by threatening to expose the abortions he had performed during internship.
Cooper has managed to shake off the advances of Victoria (Maria de Aragon), Waterman's bitchy yet attractive daughter. He tells her that he needs $50,000 for taxes. Since pop is rich and practically dead, she promises to give him the money in exchange for letting her seduce him (poor guy!). The next morning, it is learned that Victoria has administered poison to her father to hasten her inheritance. Cooper threatens to call the police, but after being reminded of the money he's going to get, he reports the cause of death as stroke.
A lawyer for the estate (Alex Rocco) hold a reading of the will upon the arrival of Victoria's sister Gail (Vicki Peters), who left home years before. At the reading, Victoria is thrown into a shit-fit when she learns that Gail inherits everything, while she only receives the house and a $250 a week allowance for the rest of her life. Of course, Cooper now sets his sights on Gail, the chic with all the dough, as Victoria goes completely off balance.
BLOOD MANIA is a lifeless dud with little to recommend it except for the female cast's nude scenes and a dynamite animated credit sequence. You'll watch this film and wonder why it's called "Blood Mania," thinking it should be called "Greed Mania" or better yet, "Boredom Mania." The acting and directing are the absolute worst. Co-writer/co-producer/star Peter Carpenter, who the following year would make mouths drop with his musical interlude in POINT OF TERROR, belongs on the most inferior 70s soap opera. Even the great Alex Rocco (MOTOR PSYCHO, DETROIT 9000) shamelessly hams it up as the lawyer who nervously wipes the sweat off his neck to make the reading of the will seem more tense.
Director O'Neill previously served as property master on several 60s AIP films, as well as production supervisor on COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE. He later wrote the screenplay for Gary Sherman's interesting VICE SQUAD (1982), as well as directing ANGEL (1984) and its sequel AVENGING ANGEL (1985). As worthy a resume that might be, BLOOD MANIA's direction remains flat and uninspired. Gary Graver, veteran of many Al Adamson flicks, was one of the cinematographers, which probably accounts for several psychedelic and morbid sequences that reveal a morsel of ingenuity.
BLOOD MANIA is one of the titles that Rhino has culled from the Crown International library. Crown was responsible for releasing some of shabbiest films to the drive-in market, and BLOOD MANIA is no exception. Rhino's DVD is full frame, and the transfer is taken from clean source materials. The colors look OK, and the sound is OK; a more than adequate presentation of this sort of film, especially when it retails for about $10. The running time is listed as 88 minutes on the box (and in most references), but it runs only 80 minutes. It still appears to be complete and uncut, so I assume that there's just some confusion with that. A trailer (much better than the film) is included and it's narrated by none other than Casey Kasem! (George R. Reis)
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