During the mid-1980s slasher boom, if you weren't original or a franchise, you were forgotten. This was a terrible rule, because some truly great films got lost in the tsunami of slashers invading theaters and home video. During this time, we had skiing slashers, Christmas slashers, rock 'n' roll slashers, funny slashers, and just about any kind of slasher you can think of. Probably the most popular of the slasher fads was the summer camp slasher. After the huge success of Friday the 13th, almost every third slasher was trying to imitate it in an attempt to hit the same pay dirt. Madman is not one of those films, and you'll see why later. But for now, don't go in the woods alone, don't say his name, and above all else, beware the...
Madman 1982 Review
ted children is nging the theme of Madman Marz while walking around from person to person around the campfire, and we actually get to see a flash-forward to their dead bodies being dragged off. After he finishes, Max, the head counselor tells the children the story of Madman Marz, a farmer who killed his wife and children with an axe before getting hung by the townspeople. However, the next day, Marz's body was gone. Max tells them that anyone who speaks his name above a whisper in the woods will get killed by the madman. Of course, some asshole camper shouts his name and throws a rock through the window of Marz's house. Shouldn't have done that...
Back at the camp, Max leaves to go into town while the counselors decide to either explore the woods, have sex, or have sex in the woods. Unfortunately for them, the legend of Madman Marz proves to be true and they are picked off one by one by the demented farmer with a penchant for hangings and decapitations. Who will survive Marz's onslaught of terror before they're all wiped out?
Featuring a cast of virtually unknown actors and actresses, Madman puts on display multiple great aspects. The acting is for the most part really good, but it's kind of hindered by some bad dialogue. The best actor out of all of them is Carl Fredericks as Max. He makes Max very believable, and I would have liked to see him have more screen time. If you're into gore, Madman doesn't disappoint. There are several nasty decapitations and throat slashings that are done very well, with the best being a decapitation via car hood. However, the greatest thing about the movie isn't the gore; it's the scares. They're not cat-in-the-closet scares (as I like to call them), they're genuine, neck-hairs-on-end scares. I still get goosebumps whenever I see that image of Marz lurking in the treetops above.
Even with these high points, Madman still has a few problems. One of them is the character of Ellie, played by Jan Claire. Oh yes, Ellie. Where should I start? The stupid smile she does at the worst posble times (Maniac's after you? Smile away!)? Her awful decion making skills (Maniac's after you? Hide in the fridge!)? While I was vastly entertained by her stupidity, I felt it detracted from the rest of the picture, which is very scary. However, I feel the biggest problem lies in Madman Marz himself. When he was in lhouette, he scared the pants off of me. When I finally got to see his face, I laughed long and hard. He looks so ridiculous and fake, I couldn't help it! But even with those bad spots, I still love Madman!
For a slasher aficionado, Madman is a must. It's got all the key elements to the genre, plus real, 100% natural creepiness, including the most haunting end theme I'll likely ever encounter! For those who accuse this of being a rip-off of Friday the 13th and even The Burning, Madman actually finished shooting in 1980, but was put on hold for release until 1982, so you really can't accuse it of anything. Anchor Bay released it uncut a long time ago, but that disc is now OOP. Thankfully, Code Red released a 30th Anniversary Special Edition with lots of extras and newly remastered picture and sound. I'm still on the fence about whether I like the new picture or the old one better. The old one had lots of blue lighting, which gave it a really surreal and nightmarish look. However, the new one has cleaned it up and made it look more natural. But any way you slice it, Madman is a must for everyone, and I might even go as far as to say it's worthy of being