Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 13th, 2015
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
BluRay released: May 26th, 2015
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.98
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 comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. A new transfer has been created for this release that has been scanned and restored in 4k from 35mm original camera negative. Needless to say this is a huge improvement upon all previous home video releases for this film. Details have never looked crisper, especially in regards to shadow detail. Also there is a healthy layer of grain and are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. And though range wise this is not a track that going to blow anyone away, the end result more then gets the job done. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a brief intro before the film with producer Gary Gales, a reversible covert art option, a trailer for the film (1 minute 48 seconds), T.V. spots (1 minute 59 seconds), an image gallery that has commentary from Gary Sales about the pre-production, the marking of the film and its various home video releases (7 minutes 20 seconds), a pair of interviews from The Dead Pit Gary Sales (3 minutes 37 seconds) who discusses a remake and how it will differ from the original film and Paul Ehlers (5 minutes 15 seconds) who discusses a remake of the film that has yet to be filmed.
Other extras include four featurettes, the first one with Gary Sales reminisces about writer / director Joe Giannone (5 minutes 46 seconds) and this extra ends with comments about other cast & crew have since passed away, the second featurette is about music that was inspired by Madman (13 minutes 17 seconds), the third featurette titled ‘The Early Years of Gary Sales’ (14 minutes 15 seconds) and a fourth featurette is titled ‘Madman Alive at 35’ (21 minutes).
The brand new featurette titled ‘The Early Years of Gary Sales’ is essentially a career overview of Sales career up to Madman.
The brand new featurette titled ‘Madman Alive at 35’ with producer Gary Sales, actors Tom Candela and Paul Ehlers is an informal reunion where the three participants reminisce about the film.
Rounding out extras is a documentary about the film titled ‘The Legend Still Lives: 30 Years of Madman’ (91 minutes 42 seconds) and two audio commentary tracks, the first one an insightful audio commentary with writer / director Joe Giannone, writer / producer Gary Sales, actors Tony Fish and Paul Ehlers and the second audio commentary track with Hysteria Lives!
The documentary titled ‘The Legend Still Lives: 30 Years of Madman’ 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. Fortunately his participation is covered via an audio commentary track recorded before his untimely passing. Also anyone who has heard the previous audio commentary tracks that Hysteria Lives! Known what to expect from them. Their audio commentary tracks are equally entertaining, humorous and sometimes informative.
Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Madman gets an exceptional release from Vinegar Syndrome.