Monday, 21 May 2012



It's possible - not massively likely, but possible - that this went down reasonably well back at the start of 1982, when there had only been two Friday The 13th films, and all the summer camp slasher cliches weren't so tediously familiar. Scary stories around the midnight campfire, the legend of the local psycho who disappeared one night and Was Never Seen Again, the spooky old house, the idiotic teen wandering off into the woods, horny camp counsellors, the car won't start.... they're all here. Maybe it was all fresh and original once. But now it's as hokey and hackneyed as a cat suddenly leaping into frame or someone waking up from a nightmare. Having said that, I first saw this movie back in the eighties on rental VHS and didn't think very much of it. Even allowing for historical perspective, it has not aged well.

The campfire yarn in Madman is "Madman Marz", a local farmer who one day went nuts and butchered his entire family with an axe - and He's Still Out There, hacking up anyone who calls out his name. One teenage moron immediately starts bellowing "Madman Marz, we're coming to get you!" and, unsurprisingly, it's not long before Marz is killing off the camp staff one by one as they stupidly wander off into the woods in the middle of the night. Will any of them survive? Who cares?

It's pretty dismal fare and surely even back in 1982 it must have stunk: it's down there with the likes of Unhinged and Death Screams for sheer aching tedium and indifferent filmmaking technique. The murky night photography (it can't all be due to shoddy DVD transfers) and useless synthesiser score only make the already terrible even worse. Frankly the only reason to seek Madman out at all is that the cast is headed by Gaylen Ross, star of the all-time classic Dawn Of The Dead. Oddly, it's one of the very few films she appeared in, and for some reason she's billed as Alexis Dubin. Other than her presence, there's very little on offer despite all the axe murders and decapitations; it's very poor indeed.


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