Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 11th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1981
Director: Joe Giannone
Writers: Joe Giannone, Gary Sales
Cast: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Alexander Murphy Jr., Jimmy Steele, Carl Fredericks, Michael Sullivan, Paul Ehlers, Tom Veilleux, Stephen Clark, Vicki Kenneally, Shelley Mathes, Lori Mathes, Jane Pappidas, Travis Sawyer, Deidre Higgins
DVD released: September 28th, 2010
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: A psychopath slaughters the inhabitants of a youth camp.
While other horror film from the 1980’s gained more attention and spawned sequels. Madman has flown under the radar since its initial release. With a reappraisal over the past decade of this underrated horror film leading to a resurgence in its popularity amongst Slasher film enthusiasts.
At the core of Madman is a story about a man named Marz who savagely murdered his family. And according to the legend about him which is told early on during a campfire scene. He still lurks in the woods near the home where killed his family. He reappears whenever someone calls out his name. Of course a cocky camp counselor sets the story in motion by provocation Marz by calling out his name.
Story and structure wise, Madman is pretty much a by the books Slasher film with the bulk of the time spent with the killer stalking his victims and disposing of them in creative ways. And while some may be turned off by the simplicity of what transpires on screen. The basic premise is strong enough and the kill scenes which feature an ample amount of gore are all well executed. Also the film moves along at a brisk enough pace that things never lag.
One of the more surprising aspects of Madman is its cinematography. The cinematographer on Madman was James Lemmo, who’s other notable film’s as a cinematographer include The Driller Killer, Mrs. 45., Vigilante and Maniac Cop. Performance wise, while the cast are all good in their respective roles. The only performance that leaves any lasting impression is Tony Fish in the role of T.P. the camp counselor who provokes Madman Marz. When all is said and done, Madman is solid horror film that holds up better than the majority of its more well know contemporaries.
Madman is presented in a anamorphic widescreen. Reportedly this transfer was sourced from an HD source that was commissioned by MonstersHD. Unfortunately this transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback and there are some issues with combing of the image. When compared to the transfer for the Anchor Bay DVD, the colors for this release have been altered with the biggest change being the removal of the blue tint. Also when compared to that aforementioned release, the transfer for this release looks softer and at times murky. it should also be noted that the print damage that was present on Anchor Bay’s DVD release is also present in this release.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio fares better than the transfer as there are no major issues with background noise and dialog sounds clear throughout.
Extras include T.V. spots (1 minute 59 seconds – 4:3 full frame), a trailer for the film (1 minute 48 seconds – 4:3 full frame), image gallery with audio commentary with producer Gary Sales, a segment about music that was inspired by the film with audio commentary with producer Gary Sales, a brief segment titled ‘Madman Marz Re-imaging Info’, a tribute to director Joe Giannone, a documentary about the film titled ‘The Legend Still Lives: 30 Years of Madman’ (91 minutes 42 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and an audio commentary with writer / director Joe Giannone, writer / producer Gary Sales, actors Tony Fish and Paul Ehlers. The documentary includes comments from the cast and crew, producer Gary Sales, actors Paul Ehlers, Michael Sullivan, Carl Fredericks and actress Harriet Bass. Also there are comments from several critics and other admires of the film. In all this is an exhaustive documentary that cover all the bases. The only downside is the lack of writer / director Joe Giannone participation, he sadly passed away in 2006. Thankfully the audio commentary which was part of the first DVD release of Madman has been included with this DVD release as it contains of wealth of information from Joe Giannone and the other participants. Overall the only thing that keeps this from being the definitive release of Madman is the transfer.