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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, July 6, 2018

Madman (1982)

I’ve been saving this one. Didn’t want to include it in the first Slasher marathon that I did for the Blog. Mostly because I know how much I enjoy Madman and planned on saving it as a reward for watching some bad entries into the genre. Sort of a reward for sticking with the marathon. I can’t wait any longer.

Things start off with some campers sitting around a fire telling ghost stories. One of those is about a crazed farmer who killed his wife and children one night, only to be lynched by the locals who discovered his crime. But both his body and those of his family disappeared. The legend says that you should stay away from his house and never ever say his name too loudly. If you do you might get the attention of Madman Marz. You know what happens right? Of course, an obnoxious kid named Richie yells his name and throws a rock thru the window of the house. Hey if characters weren’t stupid in horror movies we wouldn’t have nearly as much fun!

Be warned the next paragraph contains spoilers. Since the movie is almost forty years old I don’t feel too bad about it, but still wanted to warn you. The rest of the movie is a series of stalk and kills as Marz takes his revenge on anyone unlucky enough to run across his path. That is except for Richie. The damn kid keeps walking thru the woods and even strolls thru Marz’s house! He sees the killer and finds some of the bodies. I so wanted Marz to get him but the annoying teenager lives until the end. Richie should have died!

I enjoy the hell out of Madman. It falls early into the Slasher craze of the eighties when things were still fresh and new. That said it does some creative things that I’ve never seen in another Slasher. While around the campfire at the beginning of the movie you get some quick flashes the show you the fates of some of the characters. I mean we all know that people are going to die in these movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do this before or since. It gives the audience something to look forward too. Another neat bit of writing was the campfire scene. It doesn’t exist for a cheap jump scare but is used to tell the story of Madman Marz. The dialogue sets up the rest of the story which I found clever.

This isn't going to end well for him...
The special effects are great for a low budget flick. They keep Marz in the shadows for much of the movie. Not because of the effects work, but to save the big reveal. When we finally do get to see the killer, it is awesome. Of the non-franchise Slashers this is my second favorite design with only Harry Warden from My Bloody Valentine being better. The kills are creative and well-staged. After a few quick axe murders in the flashback we see Marz tear thru the cast by slashing throats, hanging a dude, breaking backs, and hooking another lady to the wall Chainsaw style! Madman also includes the best use of a truck hood as a means of murder that I’ve ever seen. This also sets up a fun gag later on.

Oh crap, I almost forgot the theme song. I get that everyone knows the Friday the 13th stinger and music. But nothing beats the keyboard synth title song put together for Madman. Once you’ve heard it will be stuck in your brain forever.

Cool tunes, excellent killer, well executed special effects all make for a movie that you need to see. Be warned there have been some bad releases of Madman. I’d recommend checking out the Blu-Ray release from Vinegar Syndrome. It has some great special features and the transfer is the best that I’ve seen.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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