Movie Name: Madman
Studio: The Legend Lives Company
Release Date(s): October 31, 1981 (Albuquerque)/January 1, 1982
MPAA Rating: R
When a group of campers and counselors refuse to believe the ghost story of Madman Marz (Paul Ehlers), the real Madman Marz returns with a vengeance to slaughter them. As the counselors drop one by one, Madman Marz threatens to wipe out the entire camp…unless the counselors can find the means to stop him!
Written and directed by Joe Giannone, Madman is a slasher horror film. The movie premiered in Albuquerque in on Halloween in 1981 but received a wide release in January 1982. The movie was generally negatively received but over the years has gained a cult following.
I can remember the VHS box cover for Madman, but can honestly say, I never saw any of this movie. The classic “campers in the woods” story of the movie is typical for the ’80s and popular with Friday the 13th and others using the slasher style of Halloween in a camp setting. Madman is pretty blatant and generic, but it does have some jumps.
The original plan was to use the Cropsey story as the basis for Madman. Cropsey was essentially the “boogeyman” for a lot of kids living in the New York area though no one really knew where it originated. The movie The Burning however had decided to use Cropsey as its basis and this movie changed its story (though the Cropsey story seems so generic that it doesn’t really matter). Here, you just have a ghost (?) hunting down kids…he seems pretty unstoppable.
The cast (like the movie) is also rather generic. The movie had hoped to get Vincent Price to play the camp leader Max (played by Carl Fredericks), but I see that only as a gimmick to try to get more people in. Gaylen Ross (credited as Alexis Dubin) did have a big role in Dawn of the Dead and a smaller role in Creepshow.
The movie also looks rather cheap. The “Madman” has long fingers and hands that look like gloves and wears feet that look like crazy slippers. He grunts and walks around and if the counselors would just be quiet, they could hear the madman coming from a mile away.
Madman is mindless, but if you’ve seen the other slashers, it might be worth checking out. This is the type of movie that Scream makes fun of. It is a movie filled with people making bad decisions. “What’s that noise? Let’s check it out” type moments litter the movie topped off by an ending where the female lead opts out of taking the bus to safety to follow a killer (which the police could have done). Logic doesn’t rule in Madman, but it does have some goofy ’80s horror fun.