Madman (1982) **
D: Joe Giannone
C: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Carl Fredericks, Paul Ehlers
P: The few remaining people at a summer camp discover an urban legend about a killer named Madman Marz is indeed very true when he shows up to slaughter everyone in sight.
In the opening sequence of Madman, we watch as a group of people sit around a campfire. As we all know, no campfire would be complete without a scary story or two. So someone recounts the urban legend surrounding a killer known as Madman Marz. Thinking the story is a joke, a dumb kid invites Madman Marz to show up to kill them all. I bet you, he wish he hadn't done that now. This scene perfectly captures the nostalgia of being a kid and telling tall tales and scary stories.
This scene also sets up the premise and the idea that Madman Marz is not just your typical slasher out for revenge. He's more of a boogeyman waiting in the wings, waiting to grab unsuspecting kids at a moments notice. In a way, Madman Marz represents that fear of being scared of a monster in the closet or under the bed. Madman Marz taps into an inherent fear we have all experienced as kids growing up. For film completist, I recommend the Anchor Bay version of Madman as that version has several blue hues that are missing in the Code Red version. These blue hues give the film a more atmospheric quality.
Afterwards, Madman slips into slasher film territory. That's when things start to fall apart. The overall approach pretty much amounts to one person going missing at the hands of Madman Marz and another person going out to search for that missing person only to go missing themselves. I guess they'll never learn! It's a simplistic approach to horror and that causes some of the tension that the film has built up to subside.
In regards to the film's slasher film story, Madman seems more concerned with one upping itself in terms of violence and how to dispose of the cast. Sure, some of these death sequences are effective as they are supposed to be, but the film never does justice to its initial setup. These scenes of violence in which the cast is picked apart lack the craft, timing or thorough understanding of horror that the film's initial setup showed. From this point on, Madman coasts along on the goodwill established by the film's first act. [R] 92 mins.
AKA: Madman Marz
AKA: The Legend Lives