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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on October 2, 2001
I saw the trailer for this movie on some horror website and figured it looked alright so I ordered it. The film is your usual run of the mill 80's body count movie. Usual routine - summer camp, counsilors get killed blah blah blah (how come the kids never die?). If your one of these people who expects deep characterisation in horror films, then this is worse than Friday The 13th. The characters here aren't teenagers they look more in their 30's so not only does this stereotype them even more so than your Friday 13th style hormone driven teenagers, it also makes them completely boring. So Nil on that score, acting is pretty pants too. However, a slasher film lives or dies by it's atmosphere and blood n guts rating. Gore is cheap and cheesy as ever, just as one would like. There's no budget like low budget as Bruce Campbell once said, however the films score goes up simply on it's killer. Psycho with an axe farmer 'Madman Mars' is genuinly scary as he is scene very little. There's always something inherently scary about those old farmer types anyway me thinks. But there are scenes when all you see is the outline of Mars walking through the woods, that genuinly are creepy. It's unusual for a slasher film to go that route, but perhaps unintentionally, Madman breaks from the traditional 'gorier the merrier routine' and offers a few genuine spine chills. It's by no means in the same class as Halloween as pretty much every other aspect of the film is laughable, but as summer camp slashers go (no pun intended), it's not too bad. It's one of the old Anchor Bay titles with really bad sound and few features, but this only emphasises how low the budget is. So once again, unintentionally, this ironically helps it seem even more tacky and stupid :o)
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on January 12, 2002
As usual, this is another Friday the 13th clone, which borrows elements from many slashers from the 80's. But suprisingly, it is better than some of the rest of the pack. Quite original, in some parts (dig that death-under-a-car-hood scene!), but in a way, you feel you have watched Friday or Halloween once again for the 50th time.
The story is about a summer camp (surprise, surprise!) where a group of counselors and campers are telling ghost stories. The manager of the camp, Max, tells one about a man named "Madman Marz" (I know the name is corny) who murdered his family and was then hanged, but the body disappeared. Max claims that if you say his name above a whisper, he will come after you (this is supposed to be a true story). But then a disbelieving, idiot camper shouts his name out loud, and then for the rest of the night, there are murders galore by a hulking figure with a deformed face.
Most of the cast is unknowns to me, all except for Gaylen Ross(!), who starred in Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow. In some ways, this film is very disappointing, but on the other hand, the effects are very good (and very gory), and the atmosphere is spooky and disturbing. And everyone who you think won't die, does.
I would recommend this film to fans of the slasher genre, not to people who are looking for a masterpiece. I guess this film has gained somewhat of a cult following, and I can see why (most cheap horror films of the 80's have, including 1983's Sleepaway Camp and 1986's Mountaintop Motel Massacre). But don't get me wrong-- I would definately watch this again...
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on December 2, 2001
I'm not sure what attracted me to this movie, but whatever it was, I'm glad I checked it out. I've always been a fan of slasher flicks (maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born in 1980, around the time the founding fathers of slasher flicks were releashed -- Halloween and Friday the 13th). The slasher genre is probably my favorite because there are so many films from which to work when reviewing a slasher.
Madman takes place at a camp, complete with kids, teenage camp counselors, and the old guy who's supposed to be making sure the teenagers are watching the kids and not having sex with one another all of the time. The old guy's name is Max (Carl Fredericks) and we start out listening to one of his "campside stories." The story he spins for everybody is that of Madman Marz. A number of years ago, Max tells us, a farmer butchered his entire family and then went to the tavern for a beer. Although the town hanged him for his crimes, Marz escaped into the woods and was never heard from again. Max warns his camp not to say the name Madman Marz above a whisper or else they'll piss Marz off and he'll come to get them. At this point, your classic punk stands up and starts mocking the whole story, screaming out "Madman Marz!"
The Max character is weird because he doesn't act like your typical old guy -- he doesn't mind the teens drinking beer, he doesn't mind scaring the hell out of the little kids, and he always seems to know more than he's letting on. I've wondered whether or not Max was actually Marz. By the end of the movie, I was still not convinced that he wasn't. Max and Marz were played by different actors, but could there be a secret in the storyline that link Max and Marz? There's also a few scenes that place Max too far away from camp to be Marz while all of the killings are taking place. You'll see this weirdness about Max that I'm talking about if you check this film out.
The gory scenes in this movie are quite good. The killer uses an axe as his murder weapon, but we also see one of the teens' heads chopped off under the hood of a pickup truck. Pretty unique, huh? There are obvious similarities beyond the gore to Friday the 13th and Halloween. The music used throughout the film is the most obvious. Others include the "woods" and "camp" themes common in nearly all of the Friday movies. These similarities do not make Madman a "ripoff" -- Madman certainly has qualities that make it standout. For example, in the beginning of the movie, Marz is introduced to us as someone very human -- Max tells us that Marz goes to the tavern and drinks a beer after slaughtering his family. Can you imagine Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees sitting down for a beer after one of their kills ... Exactly!
With all good slasher movies, there's the issue of the killer's face. In the beginning of the film, we see Marz in silhouette, revealing only his wild hair and large body. Eventually we see his face shot from several darkly lit and obscure angles. In fact, his face isn't "clearly" seen until near the end of the movie. And even then, it's shot from a moving camera looking up, a technique that has the tendency to conceal whatever it's filming.
Another commonality in slasher films is the sparing of at least one of the teens. This way, someone gets to tell their story to the cops or whoever ends up coming to rescue the camp when it's all over. My guess was that Betsy (Alexis Dubin) would be spared because of her savior-like role. I won't tell you if my assumption turned out to be true, you'll have to find out for yourself. The actress who portrayed Betsy was credited in this film as Alexis Dubin, but she previously appeared in the horror classic Dawn of the Dead as Gaylen Ross. She does an excellent job portraying the smart one of the bunch, even though she makes a few stupid decisions here and there. If I had to pick a smart one, though, it would definitely be her!
Without reservation I add Madman to my list of favorite 80's slasher movies. The DVD quality is excellent -- I only witnessed one scene in which the scream doesn't match up with the victim's mouth. This little error is forgivable considering the wonderful quality that's been preserved in this DVD. Check this one out, folks! Rating: 4 / 4.
SMITH TALKS: The Future of Movie Reviews ...
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on March 3, 2001
The first time I saw Madman was on a bad quality VHS release from a South African backdoor video store. It scared me then and it still scares me now, twenty years later. This is a sound horror flick with creative art direction and cinematography. From homage to direct creative theft, this motion picture is a best-of compilation with the most effective cinema tricks beautifully orchestrated to create a truely horrific motion picture. The down side is the "pornographic" acting and very weak dialogue. The characters all seem a little like clubbed seals and by the end of the flick, you are cheering the villain for putting them out of their misery. In parrallel to the cult classics, bad acting never seems to hamper a film's success or bottom line- especially in the Horror genre. This is a DVD any self-respecting horror fan should own. I would have preferred a better remaster and possibly more special features. The sound quality is fair as is the picture. Hopefully the studio can get it together for a more impressive 25th Anniversary edition.. I'll buy both.
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on September 2, 2003
This is a very origional movie. It has a great plot! Some of the acting is okay and some is very bad! But thats what you have to expect when you watch a stalker in the woods movie. It starts out around a campfire with 7 camp counselors and about 8 kids telling stories. the oldest counselor Max starts to tell the legend of "Madman Marz". It's about a crazy farmer who murdered his whole family with an axe while they were sleeping and then disappearing into the woods forever. Legend has it that if you say his name over a whisper he will come and hunt you down. Then a cocky teen says his name and the body count begins to rise. One by one the counselors begin to disappear. The best death scene is when madman marz cuts of a counselor's head while they're head is under the hood of the truck! Don't bet on who will live or die because you will be supprised. This is a great buy for those of you who enjoyed the Friday the 13th series.
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on February 17, 2002
I was so overjoyed to see this movie on DVD! I am a horror movie fanatic and this has to be one of my top 5 scariest. The acting is amateur to say the least but the star of the movie is Madman Marz. There are no daytime scenes, the old house sends chills up your spine and the foggy silhouettes of huge Madman Marz are enough to frighten anyone. The opening scenes of him murdering his family (including his 2 small children) set the scene and let you know right away that he has no regard for human life. The mystery surrounding him, the slight glimpses you catch of him during the movie, the silence with which he moves about are all enough to keep you tense. Granted, there are several scenes (like the hot tub and the meditation in front of the fireplace) that could have met the cutting room floor, but overall if you could imagine yourself in the situation of these camp counselors, you probably wouldn't want to watch this one alone!
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on December 31, 2002
the acting is pretty bad. If it was better, this could have been a really scary film, but unfortunately the acting took away some of the films atmosphere, but it is still pretty spooky. Not a Friday the 13th rip-off, for one thing, instead of hormone driven teens, we have hormone driven 40 year olds, and that is frieghtening enough. It's kind of like The Fog, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween (sort of), and Friday the 13th. To get scared in this movie, you do have to take it seriously, and try not to crack jokes about it. If you do that, then I'mn sure this will be an experience you won't forget anytime soon. Watch this one alone in the dark. The extra features on the disc are pretty good, and I'm surprised because a film like this usually doesn't get very good extra features. I hope my review has been helpful to you, and I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did.
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on June 30, 2001
Madman is a horror flick you should put right next to Friday the 13th and Halloween on your horror shelf. Madman was very well done with some interesting twists that make it stand out from the typical slasher movie. Usually when the killer starts chopping his victims up you can pick which character or characters are going to be the survivors. Madman almost plays on what typically happens in a slasher flick against you. The gore scenes are entertaining as well. I don't believe I've ever heard a skull crack in a horror movie before. Lastly the "Beware The Madman Marz" song at the end was great! While it may not stand up to Friday the 13th or Halloween in terms of originality or pure horror it sure deserves a look.
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on August 31, 2003
Madman was well thought out and well written. Some of the acting is good and some is really bad. But that's what you'd expect when you buy a stalker in the woods movie. It starts out with 7 camp leaders and about 8 kids telling stories around the camp fire. The oldest leader starts to tell the legend of Madman Marz. The legend says that if you say his name over a whisper he will come and hunt you down. Don't bet on who will die or live because you will be supprised. The death scenes are very cool. One of them has one of the counselors getting their head cut off by a car hood! The dvd features a theatrical trailer,subtitles and scene selection. I would reccomend this for those who enjoyed the Friday the 13th series. ...
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on August 7, 2001
I had first seen this movie at the show and i have been looking for it in video stores ever since then (big and small) and nobody knew what i was talking about.So i gave up my search until i just recently found it at Amazon.If you like Michael Myers,Jason,Texas Massacre and so on then you are going to like this just as much.Put this one in your collection,it's worth it.Because besides The Exorcist i have never seen so many people get scared and leave out of the theater (including my dad).And more people left on Madman than on The Exorcist.That is why i give it 5 stars just based on that fact alone.It has an 80's setting but watch it with an open mind and you won't be disapointed.I promise!
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