25th Aug2015

‘Madman’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Alexander Murphy Jr., Tom Candela, Frederick Neumann, Michael Sullivan, Paul Ehlers, Tom Veilleux, Stephen Clark, Vicki Kenneally, Shelley Mathes, Lori Mathes | Written and Directed by Joe Giannone


Urban Legends and camp-fires are the perfect way to start a horror film. Point to an old abandoned house and say that a crazy old man still lives there, you must not shout his name or he’ll come and get you. Perfect start to a slasher right? This is the basic plot for Madman, an early 80s genre flick which has had the Arrow Video Blu-ray treatment.

When a group of camp counsellors are telling scary stories around a campfire, they are warned not to say the name of Madman Marz, a crazy old farmer who is still said to haunt the woods around his abandoned home, conveniently close to the camp. When one of the group shouts the name mockingly calling to the mythical killer, it’s not long after that the counsellors start disappearing one by one, and a strange figure is seen stalking his way through the woods.

Any fan of horror, especially eighties horror won’t see anything truly original in Madman, but at the time it won’t have felt so cliché. In fact, even based on many horrors now it could be described as one of the better slashers, because it keeps things basic. It doesn’t try to give an over complicated story or motive to the killing, it just gets straight to it and brings on the gore.

What does set Madman as just a little different is that it stays being fun. There are also scenes that pay homage to films like Halloween and Friday 13th and that is going to pull fans in straight away. The actual makeup on Marz (Paul Ehlers) may seem a little poor, and the acting from the cast isn’t really that spectacular, but Madman knows what it is. The film is a low-budget horror that creates a character that could have had a big future if it had caught on as Jason Voorhees did. To give you an idea of what to expect with him, you can tell where the idea for Hatchet’s Victor Crowley came from, even down to his scarred face.

For the release Arrow Video have packed this one with plenty of features, including two commentaries and a feature-length documentary looking back at the movie, with interviews from the cast and film makers. If you make your way through all the special features you’ll pretty much known all you ever wanted to about Madman Marz, slasher films of the time and what the movie was based on. If you are a fan of Madman, or a horror fan looking for a horror you may have missed, this is a very good release for an above average slasher movie.

I do find it strange that I’d missed out on Madman, but I’m glad that I’ve now had the chance to see it. To find films you’ve not seen yet, from such a golden age of Slashers and for them to actually be better than the many clones using a similar story is actually a refreshing change.

Madman is yet another cult movie that is shown love by Arrow Video. With an impressive picture quality and plenty of special features featuring not only trivia, but also showing what love people have for the film, this is the perfect release for fans. If you are in the mood for a good slasher film that offers something a little different, then Madman is well worth a look.

****½  4.5/5

Madman is available on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now. You can also check out our review of the Vinegar Syndrome release of Madman here.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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