Madman (1982)

madman_1982_poster
  • Time: 88 min
  • Genre: Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Joe Giannone
  • Cast: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Jan Claire

Storyline:

At a summer camp for youths, cockey pre-teen calls out the name of mass serial killer “Madman Marz”. Suddenly, counselors are being maimed and slaughtered in various ways by the backwoodsman who has returned when his name was called.

One review

  • At a camp in the woods for gifted youngsters, a group of senior counsellors sit around a fire telling spooky stories. Max (Frederick Neumann), the eldest head counsellor, recalls the urban myth of Madman Marz, a notorious local drunk and brute, who butchered his family one night with an axe not too far from where the camp now lies. The locals hanged him from a tree and left his body for the crows, only to return the next day to find an empty noose. He will re-emerge if his name is spoken, and so cocky youngster Richie (Tom Candela) takes the bait and challenges Marz to show himself. As the various couples break off into the night in the hope of sex and fun, Richie notices a shadow in the woods and stays behind to investigate. Meanwhile, a hulk of a man starts to bump off the teens.

    The slasher genre produced a seemingly endless list of badly executed sex-and-murder-in-the-woods movies during the 1980s, all following a set formula, usually suffering from minimal cash injection and often made by directors never heard from again. As trashy as the majority of these movies tend to be, there’s a morbid comfort to be had in their predictability, especially amongst horror fans. Just why I keep returning to the genre I know will ultimately disappoint is a question I asked myself at various points as I watched Joe Giannone’s Madman, despite the film being one of the genre’s better offerings, at least aesthetically speaking.

    Shadowy lighting and a subtle use of music to announce the arrival of Marz help the film drum up some atmospheric set-pieces, and a few gory moments offer the desired amount of blood and just a little in way of invention. But these highlights are too fleeting, and for the most part we are made to suffer through terrible dialogue, sex scenes filmed like soft-porn, and some utterly atrocious acting from its young cast. The main group of characters are even more annoying than those commonly found in these types of movies, especially T.P. (Tony Fish), a grating douchebag with a belt buckle displaying his nickname. In order to flesh out the running time, characters are forced to repeatedly make stupid decisions so they can wander endlessly through the woods in search of each other. For slasher enthusiasts only.

    Rating: 2/5

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