MADMAN- US poster art
3 stars   Cheese Rating: 50% Fiesty Fromage!

"They thought they were alone."

directed by: Joe Giannone
starring: Alexis Dubin (Gaylen Ros), Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Alex Murphy

(back of video blurb):
       "You must not say his name above a whisper!

       'MADMAN' is a unique tale of terror which incorporates the physical passion of young lovers as a counterpoint to suspense and horror, deep in the woods of a summer youth camp.

       Old Max, the camp proprietor, tells the tale of a local farmer named 'Marz' who, in a fit of maniacal rage, axe murdered his entire family and then escaped justice by disappearing into the woods never to be seen again.

       Richie, a cocky young camper, ridicules the tale and challenges Max's story by scoffing and shouting aloud, 'MADMAN MARZ'. And as the words reverberate through the dark woods, the wheels of terror are set in motion.

choice dialogue:

"He was an evil man. Ugly and mean."
"I saw something out there. I did! ... At least, I think I did..."

Slash with panache?:

       (review by Kit Lively)

       MADMAN opens with a group of camp counselors and their youthful charges telling scary stories around the campfire. Actually, MADMAN opens with a counselor SINGING a scary story around the campfire. For one dread-filled moment of true horror, I feared that I might have unwittingly stumbled upon the world's first and only slasher-musical. But the next story-teller up at bat, kindly camp-owner Max, doesn't break out into song, and I breathed a well-earned sigh of relief. Max's tale is actually pretty spooky, even though he doesn't sing it. His tale concerns the fate of one Madman Marz, a simple man of the land who, one night many years ago, in Max's words, "for no apparent reason, went stark, raving mad." In the case of Madman Marz, going stark, raving mad involves chopping up his wife and two children while they sleep, and then hooking it down to the pub for a cold one ("I just sliced up my entire family with an axe, and you give me LIGHT BEER?!"). The townspeople are understandably angered by this sudden act of random nuttiness, and procede to visit upon Marz some good, old-fashioned frontier justice. They hang him from the nearest (or perhaps sturdiest) tree, and one of the members of the lynch mob even takes a fair-sized chunk of Madman's face off with the aforementioned axe. The following morning, of course, he's nowhere to be found, and the legend is born. Part of this legend, Max relates, is that if anyone in the woods says Madman Marz's name above a whisper, he'll hear you, and then you're pretty much out of luck. It's not much of a surprise then that the stereotypical smart-ass of the bunch shouts "MADMAN MARZ" at the top of his lungs before proceding to hurl a large rock into the darkness, where it smashes through a window in what we assume must be Madman's little ranch house. The group shares a chuckle BEHIND YOU!!! about the lengend of the insane farmer, but before preparing to head back to camp (which, I must mention, involves some sort of odd running in place type of activity), Richie, the previously referred to smart-alec, spots a really creepy looking guy with long, ragged hair in sillouette spying on them while perched in a tree in the distance. Instead of being scared shitless by this sight (I can practically guarantee that I would've cut a new path through the woods.), Richie decides to check it out. The remainder of the film involves all of the counselors going into the woods to find the missing wiseacre, and instead coming face to face with Madman and his trusty axe.

       While obviously not ground-breakingly original, MADMAN is still a very decent horror flick, and the strenghs of the slasher sub-genre are effectively played up. The colors used throughout (lot's of dark blue in the woods, etc.) work in the film's favor, and create an uneasy, eerie mood. Madman himself is seen sparingly, or in sillouette, which adds to his overall creepiness (and speaking of overall creepiness, Madman does wear overalls, which in this case is very creepy). Some of the suspense really does work, and there are a couple of decent jolts. There's quite a bit of gore, including a lingering shot of a neck-stump squirting blood and a really messy throat slitting. And if that weren't enough, the heroine of the piece in portrayed by none other than Gaylen Ross, she of DAWN OF THE DEAD fame! The dialogue, while not particularly noteworthy, carries us from one scene of horror to the other without too many groaners. MADMAN even manages to stray from the conventional 80's slasher path in a couple of minor ways, which I won't ruin for you. MADMAN is probably the best of the FRIDAY THE 13TH inspired camp-slasher flicks, which may not seem like much of a compliment, but let me assure you that it is.

BODYCOUNT 10  bodycount!   female:5 / male:5

    1-3) Madman Marz's family, two females and one male, all axed to death in flashback.
       4) male- throat slashed.
       5) Male- neck broken
       6) male- decapitated with axe.
       7) female- decapitated with car hood.
       8) male- back broken.
       9) female- axed in chest.
     10) female- slashed; impaled on hook.