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Is it just me, or is there something transcendent about cheesy slasher flicks of the 80's? Well I highly doubt it's just me, but I'll tell you that this movie fits into that perfectly with certain moments of genius. Yeah, I said it. Genius. If there was one thing that director Joe Giannone should be commended for is making Madman, which is much better than the majority of the crop of slasher films out there. He understood that although the film is pretty cheesy at times, that atmosphere and one cool ass killer (In this case, Madman Marz) would make for a awesome time at the movies!
Madman is about a group of kids at a retreat for gifted students in the middle of the woods. As the film starts out we get the obligatory campfire stories to scare the kiddies. When Max the head of the camp goes on about the story of Madman Marz, you just know you are on the cusp of witnessing some cool ass shit! See Madman Marz was your typical giant woodsman. That is until the day came where he hacked and slashed his wife and kids. Folklore now tells that Madman Marz is out there roaming the woods at night stalking anyone who mentions his name above a whisper. Now let me stop you for a second here. Do you wanna see this movie? Because if the answer is "no", then you apparently are a lost cause. Oh yeah, did I mention that Madman Marz has his own fucking theme song?!?! Still don't want to see it? Yeah, I thought you might change your tune. Anyway, one of the smartass young kids at the camp thinks it would be funny to start screaming "Madman Marz" at the top of his lungs, and we're off. Hack and slash after hack slash and it's all fun from here.
I'll have to give director Joe Giannone a lot of credit here as the atmosphere in the film is excellent. A lot of time the effectiveness with a slasher flick lives and dies with this and it's certainly something he understood well. Also, this movie has one of the coolest killers ever, in a gigantic burly lumberjack type with a gash on his face and a crazy head of hair. I could try and explain it a thousand times and I couldn't live up to what he really looks like. The story although cool is pretty bland outside of the story about Marz himself, but that doesn't really hold this one down too much. It's still a fun flick to be enjoyed by slasher fans for sure. Another reason this movie is infamous to horror fans is because it stars Gaylen Ross (Fran from George Romero's Dawn of the Dead) under a different name (Alexis Dubin) and nobody seems to know exactly why. Now there's a ton of reasons why, but they are all assumed and no there really is no sense in me getting into them here.
Overall I really enjoyed Madman, as it's story is fun, the kills are awesome, and the director certainly seemed to understand what he was
trying to do here. It's not the greatest film ever made, but it's certainly something that can be appreciated by horror fans and slasher fans alike. Recommended.
-Rating - ***