Madman (1981)

madman movie poster
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

'80s horror slasher

Cheap and goofy

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Madman

Studio:  The Legend Lives Company

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  October 31, 1981 (Albuquerque)/January 1, 1982

MPAA Rating:  R

madman marz noose woods

Ignore the killer in the woods with a noose…

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.

madman marz killer

I’m just a killer trying to live a nice life

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.

madman gaylen ross ending

I lost all pity for you when you decided to leave the safety of the bus and go in a murder house…

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.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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