B-Movie Corner: ‘Madman’ follows the slasher movie checklist perfectly
“Madman” was released in theaters in 1982 and slowly built a cult following at the drive-in circuit before finding a faithful audience on VHS. After the initial love this film had from viewers it languished for a number of years before finally receiving a proper Blu-ray release in 2015.
The film takes place at a summer camp and opens with a group of counselors reciting scary stories around a campfire to young campers. One of them, Max, decides to tell the kids the story of nearby resident Madman Marz whose house is right next to camp property.
Madman Marz killed his whole family with an axe only to be found by locals and hung from a tree to die. However, when they came back the following morning to cut him down from the tree he was gone and the legend says that Madman Marz is still alive and roaming the woods surrounding the camp.
After Max finishes his story, Richie does not believe him and yells for Madman Marz to come get him. He then throws a rock at Madman Marz’s nearby house and breaks a window. Max calls out immediately after trying to talk him out of trying to come kill Richie or any of the campers.
Max leaves the camp to get supplies and Richie wanders off into the woods alone convinced he saw Madman Marz in a tree. However, as the cook wishes everyone a good night and enjoys his late night liquor alone, he quickly has his throat ripped out by Marz who then grabs a nearby axe and sets off on his killing spree.
Counselors start to disappear one by one as the bloody rampage from Madman Marz continues. He dispatches of people in a variety of ways throat ripping, hanging, and decapitation being some of the goriest.
The film definitely follows a lot of the standard slasher protocols, however being that this was shot in 1981 it was very early on in the height of popularity for the genre. This allowed the film to build a strong cult following from the early stages of its release.
While the plot is thin and the acting poor, Madman has a lot of heart and passion that comes across in the film and makes these obvious weaknesses something easy to look past and simply enjoy the film.
This was filmed during a bygone era of great horror movies. There is also a good reason that this film has built such a strong cult following, namely because it is just a fun slasher movie.
“Madman” delivers on the promise of being a great slasher film and for those who love the genre they know exactly what to expect from it. This is a must see film for all fans of 80s horror who think they have seen it all!