Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Madman (1982)

Madman, often called Madman Marz or The Legend Lives, is a earlier backwood slasher released January 1982 in the States. It was directed by Joe Giannone who assisted for two other movies but Madman really is the only one having some acclaim or cult following. Funny story about Madman-actor Paul Ehlers; he had to leave the set to be in hospital on time so he could see the birth of his child. He went there in full Madman Marz-costume. Probably the child was traumatized after that, I could imagine well. Gaylen Ross, who starred in Dawn Of The Dead and Creepshow, is credited under the pseudonym Alexis Dubin.

The movie starts as almost every backwood slasher starts. Some creepy keyboard score, a campfire, a group of people, mostly teenagers, telling each other some creepy stories. I don't really understood what group there was, just like some camp for parents of their gifted children. It's the last evening and so they sit around the campfire and tell some stories, first of all you see T.P, one of the head counselors, walking around singing some creepy song. Max, a head counselor as well, is telling a story about said Madman Marz, having brutally murdered his family. Then he was hanged but escaped the next morning and the children of the men who hanged him were gone. Anyway at the end Max says 'This is my way of saying good bye and good luck to your children' Yeah, just by giving them the shock of their lives.

Richie, some teenager out of the group, then calls out the name Madman Marz and throwing a stone at the abandoned house. After the campfire 'ceremony' they all go back to their houses but Richie noticed some movement in the trees, Madman Marz? Instead of following the others Richie goes into the abandoned house and looks around. There is also some creepy 'light-a-candle-and-creepily-erase-it-after-a-minute'-thing going on in the house, obviously Marz. Then you see the other guys arriving at the camp, they didn't even noticed that Richie is missing. Come on, don't they talk or look around? Other bummer is that there aren't any hot girls in this camp as they are in other backwood slashers such as Sleepaway Camp or the Burning. Man, that's going to be a looong ass hour to watch this through.

Every head counselor apart from Max are around each other and so after this last campfire they all make out, slasher cliché right here! Betsy though refuses to make out with T.P. though after a reflective dinner all together (Max then says goodbye to all being back in a few hours)she finally agrees and you have to sustain some cheesy whirl pool scene that lasts about three minutes. Then there is a first POV-shot of someone looking into the whirlpool-room. After this short interaction you finally see some gore. I have to say the gore here is pretty decent, the most memorable death scene has to be some girl being decapitated while being busy handling the car and Marz jumping on the engine hood. A similar scene appeared in the fun slasher Home Sweet Home from 1981, while the flick was on the humor side this one takes it far more serious.

The final girl here is obviously Betsy following Marz into his cabin and having some fight just to get burnt down with everything after Marz overbeared her. That aspect is unique for a slasher genre. First, the final girl dies and secondly Richie who has caused the whole Marz-madness survives in the end by climbing through the woods and inside the cabin all the time without Marz having laid a finger on him. That's kind of unfair, Richie should have get his revenge as well. All we see in the end is Max returning with his car picking up Richie who trembles in fear, saying Madman Marz is real.

This is your typical early 80s backwood slasher with decent gore and some good storyline. Though nothing really happens in the first half hour, the movie improves after that and has its peak in a great finale scene. Surely not everyone has heard of this kinda overlooked slasher but if you're a sucker for the more obscure movies from the 80's you'll surely be satisfied with this one.

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