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Friday, December 25, 2009


     "MADMAN" was one of the many "Friday the 13th" clones to hit theaters in the early 80's, along with "The Burning", "Sleepaway Camp", and "Just Before Dawn", etc.  Not great by any means, but I knew from the opening scene that I was in for a treat.  Set around a campfire, the counselors are huddled together under the stars telling scary stories.  The head counselor starts to sing the legend of Madman.  Not speak... but sing.  My jaw dropped and I didn't blink or breath until he was finished. This performance must be seen to be believed.  For a brief second I thought I had stumbled upon the first horror/musical.

     Set at a wooded retreat for gifted kids, a bunch of couselors meet Madman- a cruel, violent farmer who years before went stark raving mad and murdered his family with an ax.  After finding out his crimes, the townsmen captured and hung Madman  from a tree.  The next day, his body was gone... only a torn noose left.  Supposedly, if you say Madman's name aloud, he will hear you and appear, ax in hand.  Which of course, a non-believing counselor shouts out his name around a campfire, which summons the Madman... What follows is an extremely low budget but extremely watchable little movie.


      I had a an absolute blast watching "MADMAN".  The acting is terrible, but hey, let's be real.  We don't watch these movies for the acting, right?  The wooden acting is more than made up for with some stunning cinematography and lighting- the entire movie takes place after dark and the use of colors really gives the film that something extra.

       As for the Madman himself, he is rather frightening- he wears overalls, has scraggly white hair, has over-sized, weird looking hands and feet, and brandishes an axe.  He always seems to be peering in a window or lurking in the dark, off to the side.  Madman's house is also creepy- lots of lingering shots of cobwebs, animal skulls, and candles. A bit of horror trivia- Gaylen Ross of the original "Dawn of the Dead" plays the lead female role here.  The colors, mood, and knowledge of the slasher genre more than make up though for what it lacks.  I really enjoy this little movie, which alternates from silly to scary like no other.  Far from perfect, but I still enjoy it.  The movie has achieved cult status, and is definitely worth a look.

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