Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Madman"(1983)d/Joe Giannone

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"If you say his name above a whisper out in the woods...he'll come for you.And if he comes for you,HE'LL GET YOU."
Around a campfire at North Sea Cottages,a retreat for gifted children,some counselors are chilling the blood of a few of the kids with awful vocal renditions of scary folk songs when Max(Carl Fredericks)grips the gathering in fear with the tale of a farmer who once lived not too far from their campsite,a brutal drunk with the strength of an ox who abused his wife and kids,before going crackers,killing them and wandering into the local watering hole and ordering a drink,slamming the bloody axe onto the bar.When the townspeople discovered his gory deeds,ten of the men dragged him out,slashing his face with his own axe,and hanging him from a tree.The next morning,the farmer and his family's bodies have all disappeared.So the legend begins.The hulking giant of a backwoods maniac lurks just out of view in the forest,and anyone who speaks his name above a whisper,will end up beheaded by his axe.Of course,one of the counselors,a snotty-looking kid from New York(isn't it always?)thinks Max's tale is hilarious,mocks the farmer out loud,and chucks a rock through a window in his abandoned farmhouse,condemning everyone involved to a grue-stained death at the blade of his heavy axe.
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Marz could have gotten his swing on right here,and spared us forty brutal minutes of forgettable struggling actor-types.
The counselors,packing up for a break,are unaware of the forthcoming vengeance,save for snotty-little Richie who lags behind,inadvertently discovering Marz's homestead in the process.Madman wanders down into town,pulling his axe from a stump,Excalibur-style, after two men can't budge the headchopper.He quickly dispatches the cook,Dippy(!)with a throat-slashing,as Betsy(Dawn of the Dead's own Gaylen Ross,credited here as Alexis Dubin) and TP,her former beau, share a sexy whirlpool together.Whether TP is hung enough to sate Betsy in the tub,he most certainly is once Marz slips a noose around his neck and hangs him like a pinata minutes later.He then 86es the other counselors,one by one, with well-placed chops to the neck,and even decapites one by jumping down upon a car hood!Score!As the mist clears,Betsy is the last counselor left to face the murderous scar-faced bumpkin,who hangs her on a hook in the basement of his farmhouse,but not before she knocks over a candle,setting the place ablaze.Max,who had been conveniently away from the mayhem for the length of the picture after opening up the can of psycho-worms with his campfire story,drives back to camp where he finds the Big Apple smartass,Richie,in a state of delirious shock,repeating over and and over again that Madman Marz is real.
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"That's what I get for hiding in a refrigerator!"
A sociopathic axe-chop above others of the ilk,"Madman" delivers inventive,grisly deaths,oozes creepy atmosphere(especially in the campfire/backstory sequence),and offers up an ornery hulkish woodsman with a taste for murder,played by Paul Ehlers,that you'll not soon forget.I remember speeding home the Thorn EMI vhs the day it was released,eager to screen it with my blood-hungry buddies,and not being disappointed in the least with the finished product.You can imagine my happiness when Anchor Bay finally released a beautiful print of this late-night classic on dvd years later.With Halloween right around the corner,cue this sleeper up and be prepared for some genuine chills,or if you're brave enough,wander out into the upstate NY woods,and call out the name of Madman Marz.He's on MySpace friends list,so I'll just send him an e-mail,if I feel so inclined.
Three out of four B.W.'s


Anonymous said...

The best movie I've ever watched since childhood, born in 1991. tried hard to find in different countries but eventually got frm London,after having enough f the information from the internt.Such a movie can neva ever be made again. the effects, music, suspence, horror, reality and above all winters!!!!

beedubelhue said...

Thanks for the input!


Unknown said...

I totally agree with our anonymous writer when he/she say that Mad Man is one f the greatest horror movies made in it's time. I was born in 79 and I'm not sure how old I was when I saw it, but it has stuck with me through the years. Mad Man was the movies my friends and I watched at sleep overs to scare the hell out of us, and with great success. I've been trying to get my hands on this movie for years. The last copy I know of was rented, and never returned to the video store up the block from my house. Till this day I'm still on the hunt, and extremely happy someone out there agrees that this movies is the BOMB.

beedubelhue said...

Anchor Bay released a beautiful print of the film a few years back,you should be able to get your hands on it.If not,drop me a line and I'll hook you up with a "backup copy" on dvd.


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