The Movie Waffler Blu-Ray Review - <i>MADMAN (1982)</i> | The Movie Waffler

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Blu-Ray Review - MADMAN (1982)

Former member of the UK 'Video Nasties' list gets the hi-def treatment from Arrow Video.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Joe Giannone

Starring: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass



"The film follows a classic drive-in structure, in that it considerately allows you to wander off to take a leak, purchase some milk duds, or take a sneaky trip to the liquor store, all without missing any key plot elements."





If you're of the opinion that there are too many superhero movies released these days, cast your mind back to the early '80s, when every week a new slasher flick hit our screens. Thanks to the soaring financial success of John Carpenter's Halloween and Sean S Cunningham's Friday the 13th, every low budget producer in America, many seeking an exit from the porn industry, decided to get in on the stalk and slash game. There were a few diamonds in the rough (The House on Sorority Row, Prom Night, Maniac), but Joe Giannone's Madman wasn't one of them.
With a premise not dissimilar to the previous year's superior The Burning (which itself borrowed a lot from Friday the 13th), Madman gives us another take on the 'Cropsey' myth, a popular urban legend that tells of a maniacal killer who picks off victims in the woods of upstate New York. The killer's name has been changed here to Madman Marz, as we learn from a campfire tale told by Max (Carl Fredericks), head counsellor at a Crystal Lake style summer camp, one which seems to have a lot more counsellors than campers. Speaking Marz' name will summon him and set him off on a murderous rampage, and wouldn't you know, one of the counsellors shouts out the maniacal moniker, lobbing a stone at Marz house just to really piss him off.
True to form, Marz does indeed return, resembling the decomposed corpse of The Dukes of Hazzard's Uncle Jesse. Maybe he's pissed that he can't fly the old Stars and Bars no more, or maybe he just hates young folks. Either way, he sets off on a murderous rampage, one sorely lacking in cinematic invention.
Madman runs for 88 minutes, but feels longer than Ben Hur, thanks to its glacial pace and padding out with dull conversations. Suspense and tension took the weekend off it seems, with Giannone proving incapable of providing either element. The film follows a classic drive-in structure, in that it considerately allows you to wander off to take a leak, purchase some milk duds, or take a sneaky trip to the liquor store, all without missing any key plot elements.
Thankfully, there is some camp (no pun intended) value here, with a hilarious love-making scene in a jacuzzi that has its lovers circling each other in some bizarre mating ritual, and a would-be victim hiding in a fridge, long before Indiana Jones sought such refuge.
Madman made it onto the infamous UK 'Video Nasties' list back in the day, which shows how ridiculous the list was, as there's nothing here you wouldn't see on today's mainstream TV in terms of violence, and oddly for the genre, nudity is notably absent. Had it not made it onto the list, the movie would likely be consigned to the video trash can and we wouldn't have this stunning transfer from Arrow Video. Whatever your opinion of the film, it's great to see it in all its gritty, grainy, grindhouse glory.
Extras:
The Legend Still Lives! Thirty Years of Madman is a comprehensive, feature length documentary filled with cast and crew interviews.
Madman: Alive at 35 is a shorter look back at the legacy of the movie.
In The Early Career of Gary Sales, the film's producer discusses the good old days of '70s exploitation filmmaking.
The package is rounded out with convention interviews, musical tributes, trailers, TV spots and the usual Arrow reversible sleeve and booklet. A great all round presentation that a movie this poor really doesn't deserve.




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