Blood Mania (1970)

Daddy: One of the few pleasures I have left in life is watching you try to get your claws into Dr. Craig Cooper and failing.

Victoria: Now Daddy, you don’t want to upset yourself.

You know how porn movies used to try and imitate real movies? Blood Mania is a real movie masquerading as soft porn. I’m not saying that it isn’t littered with its share of contrived nude scenes and some wooden acting, but the real show here is human pathology on full display. The plot revolves around Dr. Craig Cooper trying to dodge a blackmailer who is threatening to expose his past as an abortionist. Enter Victoria Carpenter, a mentally unstable artist who is taking care of her wealthy invalid father. She offers to pay the blackmailer in exchange for Cooper’s hand in marriage. The only problem is her pugnacious father who spends his days hurling snide comments at her refuses to die. This is definitely one of those 70s movies that modern producers would never touch. If you need trigger warnings, don’t watch it. Some key themes include patricide, masturbating while watching someone die, and Amyl nitrate sex and murder. This is definitely a sativa style narrative. If you can allow yourself identify with the character’s fear of exposure, you’re in for a fun hour and twenty minutes.

 What’s not to like?

The real show here is Maria De Aragon. You won’t find a lot of movies with her name on the marquis, but when you start off with a role like this, it’s understandable. This movie really dips into the sickness that lurks behind those suburban hedgerows. It’s not the type of role that it is easy to recover from. She starts off the movie on low heat, then slowly starts to build. This one’s a schemer. She’s a woman on a mission and will use any means at her disposal to get what she wants, including using the chemicals she finds in her daddy’s medicine cabinet to seduce the reluctant doctor. Meanwhile she’s just painting away in her room. Then she starts to go onto full boil. Finally the whole thing just descends into complete madness. I will stand by the statement that this movie contains the best will-reading scene in the entirety of cinema. Now it’s flawed in its own ways and definitely contains some sexual detours, but if you’re interested in a text that shreds the illusion of the happy domestic sphere and cracks open all of the shameful vices of the suburban culture that spawned it, this is the one to watch. The key theme is shame. Shame is a means of control. You must use it to regulate your appetites or they will rise from the depths to devour you like some terrible fish.

That and watch out for crazy women—especially ones who paint.

 Rating: 3 Hits