“The Manor,” is the macabre tale of mental patient, Amy Hunter (Christina Robinson) and the horrific events that follow her release from Psychiatrist, Dr. Tryvniak (Rachel True). Amy’s mother, Jane (Tanja Melendez Lynch) feels it best to immerse her daughter in the warm, family atmosphere of Anders Manor, inviting Amy’s long lost family (Eric Lutes, Tandy Tugwell, Danielle Gulden, Michael Zuccola) to join them at the manor. The Manor, however, has deeper plans for the Hunter Family, as gatecrashers and cultists (Sully Erna, Kevin Nash, Mike Bennett) arrive as the nefarious and ancient demonic force, Aka-Mana (David Tessier) goes to work, in short order, to sow madness and reap blood.
At the end of the month I’ll hopefully be meeting Kevin Nash at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Hell on Earth 15. Kevin seems to be a popular choice in a lot of low budget film castings which I will forever be grateful for. Kevin’s imposing figure is always a welcome sight in any film I’m watching and he gets better with every acting role.
I picked up The Manor sometime earlier this year at the local Family Video solely because Kevin Nash‘s face is plastered on the cover. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it also stars Mike Bennett (WWE, Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action, New Japan Pro Wrestling).
I have been having a whirlwind of a year emotionally and it’s kind of intensified this past month, one constant though has been movies. I had no idea what I was getting into with The Manor, I had never seen the trailer, I had simply read the synopsis on the back of the DVD. Why I picked today of all days to watch it is beyond me but odd frame of mind or not, this one is a wild ride.
A young lady, Amy, is turning 18, not only stepping into adulthood but also stepping foot out of the asylum she has been living in the past four years. Her mother has the grand idea to take her to Anders Manor to try to get some rest and relaxation with her cousins, aunt, and uncle. The only issue with this is her doctor feels she may regress because of the location and the attached memories. They are not the only guests though, joining them are the backwoods Bayton brothers, Ole, Darsaw (Mike Bennett), Brett (Sully Erna of Godsmack) and a wonderfully odd group of universalists called True Believers led by Reverend Thomas (Kevin Nash).
Amy is a schizophrenic who has a hard time separating reality from her hallucinations, especially the heinous demon Aka Mana, who she feels manipulates her like a puppet. Add in all these wacky ass people who are mostly disturbed themselves and it’s a recipe for disaster. This film feels and is cut like a fever dream I might have when I can’t keep my medications down, surreal but still all to real. I probably wasn’t in the best mind frame to handle this film but I think there is no better way to watch it than when you’re just a bit off. It adds to its impact.
This movie is all over the place and has some pretty extreme plot elements, including incest, murder, rape, and mental illness. But mixed in with all those extremities stands Reverend Thomas, a kooky spiritualist with a heavy bent on universalism, who believes that “Love doesn’t care, let’s crank up the tunes.” He is the most positive person in the film along with his True Believers. Kevin Nash plays this role wonderfully and he is the only one who seems to actually care about Amy’s well being. I just wish there was more of him in this film. Cult like leaders are always an attractive element to me, so that’s probably why I’m so enamored with those particular parts of this film. His cotton candy social looked like the chillest thing to attend.
Another great turnout in the film is Mike Bennett as Darsaw Bayton, a perpetually horned up beefcake of a hillbilly, with an interesting perspective on familial relations, even espousing the idea of kissing cousins. He’s a true country casanova, replete with tank top, jeans and a flannel floppy eared hat who seduces one of Amy’s cousins. He’s a welcome addition in this film as he and Nash both help break up some of the depressing bleakness of the film.
The film is riddled with interesting music choices and the editing can be disorienting at times but I thought the film was entertaining. It might have to do largely with the fact that it affected me so strongly because of my current mental state but I highly recommend this film. Nash and Bennett make this good film into a great film and it’s one of my favorite movie purchases of the year. It is by far the oddest thing I’ve watched in 2019 but it will stand proudly in my collection.
Mike Bennett on the right as Darsaw Bayton
Kevin Nash as Reverend Thomas