Monday, 24 August 2015

Madman (1982)

Obscure backwoods 1980s slasher flick MADMAN gets a whistles and bells Blu-ray release courtesy of Arrow Films. 
Around a campfire at a summer school for gifted children, we learn the story of Madman Marz, who killed his family and escaped the gallows only to roam the forest in search of fresh victims. The only thing you mustn’t do is say his name out loud. Of course someone promptly does and the scene is set for ninety minutes of pure backwoods slasher material, i.e. a group of "teenagers" wandering around in the dark and being slowly bumped off.

The first thing to say is that this movie should not be confused with 1989's (superior and far more entertaining) I, MADMAN about an insane fictional doctor who escapes from a novel to terrorise Jenny Wright. Having cleared that up, is there anything to make MADMAN stand out from its contemporaries? Well, the ending is pretty downbeat, and the skill of director Joe Giannone elevates it above homemade rubbish like DON’T GO IN THE WOODS...ALONE! Be warned, though, MADMAN is no HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13TH. It’s not even on a par with George Mihalka’s MY BLOODY VALENTINE, although you do get a song about the title character at the end. Acting is par for the course with these things, although the lead is played by DAWN OF THE DEAD’S Gaylen Ross under the name Alexis Dubin. 

Fans of this sort of thing will spot similarities to Tony Maylam’s THE BURNING and Steve Miner’s FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 with its campfire way of relating the slasher legend, and a more recent slasher that was obviously influenced by MADMAN is Adam Green’s series of HATCHET movies - Victor Crowley looks very similar to Madman Marz.

There seems to be quite a cult around this film, although I will admit I can’t really see why. Anyway, fans are going to be delighted by the package on offer from Arrow here. There’s a ninety-one minute making of documentary, two audio commentaries and numerous other extras, including a piece on music inspired by the film (!), interviews with cast and crew, a profile of the career of producer Gary Sales, convention interviews, stilsl, a trailer, TV spots, a collector’s booklet and an ‘In Memoriam’ piece for director Joe Giannone and actor Tony Fish amongst others.

Fans of obscure backwoods USA slasher fare are going to be delighted with this. Everyone else can probably give it a miss.  

Arrow Films are releasing MADMAN on dual format Region 2 DVD and Region B Blu-ray on 24th August 2015

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