Trashterpiece Theater Presents:
MANSION OF BLOOD (2015)
Review by Stacey Longo
Imagine you have a blank document in front of you. You’re preparing to fill it with a story—a tale of horror, you decide. But what trope to use? Ghosts? Zombies? Werewolves? Witches? Demons? Crazy Gary Busey? (Was the “crazy” descriptor really necessary in that last one?) As you ponder this, you realize your story should probably have a plot, too. That sounds hard.
If you then decide that by throwing in all of the horror tropes—plus maybe some sexy cops—you won’t need a plot, your result will no doubt look something like MANSION OF BLOOD (2015).
Here’s the premise: there’s about to be an eclipse, and Mason Murphy (Ray Quiroga, who is primarily a B-movie producer in real life) is throwing a party at his renovated mansion. His servant/party planner, Zacharia (Gary Busey) is running the show, trying to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Things do not run smoothly. One of the attendees is a witch, who casts a spell to summon her dead boyfriend’s ghost. It is unclear at this point whether this summoning or the eclipse itself is the cause of the ensuing hijinks, but something happened, because every horror creature you can think of shows up to terrorize the partygoers. It’s important to note here the guests seem to be completely unaware of the deaths happening around them, because nobody bothers to call the cops. In fact, the police show up only after a noise complaint is called in, but if you’re worried our friend Zacharia might be in trouble, don’t be: the remarkably buff cops quickly strip down and get into a hot tub with a group of sexy bikini-clad chicks who will soon take their tops off.
The anemically-thin plotline starts fraying around this point. The screenwriter no doubt decided to toss in every possible scary story element he’d ever heard of, plot be damned. Partygoers drop like flies, each murdered in spectacular fashion. The list of otherworldly elements crashing the party include:
- A werewolf
- A vampire
- A mummy
- A wife intent on poisoning her husband
- Demons from hell
- A ghost
- Homicidal little people
- A witch
- Two crazy old ladies with arsenic
- Gary Busey
As the body count rises, the guests finally pick up on the fact that the crowd’s thinning, and start to panic. They band together to try and figure out what’s going on and how to stop it.
At this point, I can’t continue without spoiling the ending for you . . . if you even make it to the ending. The acting ranges from terrible to meh, with Busey and Robert Picardo (STAR TREK VOYAGER, 1995–2001)—as the caterer—standing out as the exceptions.
I want you to think about what you just read there. Gary Busey stood out as one of the highlight performances in this movie, and I’m pretty sure they just let him wing it throughout the entire shoot. He flubs his line in his very first scene. And he was exceptional among this cast.
This was not a good movie, folks.
It shouldn’t have been as bad as it was. The special effects weren’t awful—I’ve seen worse—and there are a lot of cool-sounding monsters in this thing. For a “let’s just film Gary Busey saying whatever the hell pops into his head” script, Gary gives a fine performance. Robert Picardo was no doubt the best thing about this movie: he could’ve just phoned it in, but he makes the most of his hapless caterer role here. The one moment where an audible chuckle actually escaped my lips was when Picardo tells his teenage sons their mother is dead. But be forewarned, that was the only moment when I laughed.
I think this film wanted to be funny. But humor isn’t just about the one-liners; it’s also about delivery, and this cast couldn’t pull it off. The jokes fall flat, the characters aren’t likable, and when it devolves into simply piling on trope after trope, it becomes ridiculous. Not in a good way. More of an “I could be getting my teeth cleaned instead of watching this garbage” kind of way.
Unfunny. Unwatchable. And so uncomfortable when the little people show up. Two of the guests (don’t ask me their names, I didn’t care enough about this schlock to jot them down) happen upon a table of little people playing cards. The guests stumble over what to call them (again, this could’ve been funny, if the actors had any sense of timing or delivery) and wind up oohing and aahing over them and calling them “cute.” Like, “little baby” cute. Why none of the small-statured actors didn’t punch the screenwriter in the junk and walk off the set as soon as they saw the script is beyond me. In this scene, the dwarves (I looked it up, it’s totally P.C.) wind up (spoiler aler—ah, who cares?) killing the male guest. The murder is awkward and dumb. You’ll watch it and think, What did I just see? That scene had so much potential, and they just flushed it like a turd in a punchbowl! Plus, I just screwed up my analogy, and I don’t care enough to fix it because I hate this movie!
You have better things to do with your time, my friends. Skip MANSION OF BLOOD and watch YouTube outtakes if you want to get your crazy Busey on.
© Copyright 2017 by Stacey Longo Harris