25th Jun2024

‘Madman: Limited Edition’ 4K UHD Review

by Phil Wheat

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 filmmakers. 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.

Admittedly Madman is yet another re-release of cult movie from Arrow Video. But an impressive improvement in picture quality and plenty of special features featuring not only trivia, but also showing what love people have for the film, make 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.

4K UHD Special Features:

  • 4K transfer of the film from the original camera negative
  • 4K (2160p) Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation in High Dynamic Range
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with director Joe Giannone, stars Paul Ehlers and Tony Fish and producer Gary Sales
  • Audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • UK-exclusive introduction by Sales and Ehlers
  • I’m Not A Screamer, a 2022 interview with star Gaylen Ross
  • The Legend Still Lives! Thirty Years of Madman – a feature-length retrospective documentary on the slasher classic including interviews with various cast and crew
  • Madman: Alive at 35 – Sales, Ehlers and star Tom Candela look back at the making of Madman, 35 years after it was filmed
  • The Early Career of Gary Sales – the Madman producer discusses his career in the film industry
  • Convention interviews with Sales and Ehlers
  • Music Inspired by Madman – a selection of songs inspired by the movie, including the track ‘Escape From Hellview’ from former CKY frontman Deron Miller
  • In Memoriam – producer Sales pays tribute to the some of the film’s late cast and crew, including director Giannone and actor Tony Fish
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • TV spots
  • Stills & artwork gallery with commentary by Sales
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
  • Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

****½  4.5/5

Madman: Limited Edition 4K UHD is out now from Arrow Video.

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