Monday, May 6, 2013
The Legend Lives: Madman (1982)
starring: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass
Perhaps one of the cheesier cult classics from this fair horror sub-genre, Madman starts its tale with a campfire tale (or song, rather) revolving around none other than the grunting monster man, Madman Marz.
This nice little intro had us glimpsing into the origin story of our killer, an evil man, mean and ugly as the singing head counsellor described him further, who abused his family and was so vile, he felt no pain when an angry woodchuck bit off a part of his nose. Then, one night, for no apparent reason, Marz when raving mad and hacked his entire family with an axe before going to the town's tavern for a drink of cold beer. Of course, the townsfolk quickly realized he's completely bonkers, so they lynched him, hanged him on a noose and hacked his face with an axe. As daybreak, however, the hanging body of what they believed to be a dead man was nowhere to be found, and thus the legend of Madman Marz begun.
Now, it is said that when one would say Marz's name above a whisper, he will come to hunt you down, but teen camper Jimmy thought otherwise and pulled a loud one before hurling a rock at the alleged Marz house. It wasn't long before Jimmy noticed a shadow clenched on top of the trees, a figure watching them, he decided to part from the group as they head back to the cabins, and try to find out whether it's really Marz he saw. When this little camper was finally noticed missing, one counselor head back to the woods to look for him, only to fall victim to the legendary killer himself. Soon, it's one counselor to the next, and everyone will now that Marz is indeed real!
I have to admit that Madman isn't as classy and scary as I last remember watching it. I believe it was back when I was fresh in college that I thought Madman was one of the best backwoods slasher ever made in the 80s, in line another underrated backwoods kill-a-thon The Burning. But lately, as I re watch this over-cooked cheese, I'm beginning to see a lot of the film's weaknesses.
For one, the dialogue of the movie is really, pun intended, campy and some of the acting is really questionable. One scene here had a guy apparently being folded on his back, and he sounded like somebody doing a bad voiceover in a low-budget dubbing of a kung-fu movie. (Listen to him "scream") And then there's the point that almost everything about this movie is awfully cliched and the plot is really no more than counselors going into the woods to look for their missing comrades, only to be killed by a psycho with an axe. Nothing very original here, but at least all the cards are played right.
What Madman lacked in original ideas, it makes up for it with a lot of atmosphere; the blue-tinted lightning adds much to the effect of the coldness night the events unfold in, and much of the camera tricks had us vaguely seeing our killer, reducing him to nothing but a looming shadow in overalls. The gore in this movie is also noteworthy, as we got bloody tidings of throat cuts, axe decapitations and one funny looking beheading via car hood.
Notable on this title as well is the lack of teenage camp counselors and had a bunch of late 20s to early 30 somethings in place of them, the kind of people that would at least look responsible when it comes to handling the youngsters. The camp itself is also more authentic to look at than what most other slasher-in-camp movies had, probably cuz it had actual children in them. (Something Friday the 13th learned by the time Jason Lives again in 1986)
While time may have ravaged my feelings for this movie, Madman still has enough cheese, jolts and blood to charm or worm it's way back to any other fan's hearts. Aficionados of backwood loonies and camp counselors in danger can still find an hour and a half worth of entertainment from this title, given that they'll give it a chance, or find a right time to indulge in nothing but classic cheese and sing along with the Madman Marz song!
1 female hacked to death with axe
1 boy hacked with axe
1 girl hacked on the head with axe
1 male clawed on the throat
1 male hanged on noose, neck forcingly broken
1 male decapitated with axe
1 female head crushed off on car hood
1 male back broken
1 female axed on the chest
1 female impaled through hook