Blu-ray Movie Review – Madman (1981)

Directed by Joe Giannone
Courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome & CAV Distributing
Original Year of Release: 1981
Blu-ray Release Date: May 26, 2015


I never get tired of watching old-school horror, especially slashers from the Golden Age of Slasher Films. MADMAN is one of those films I had heard about but never got the chance to see. The fine folks at CAV Distributing partnered up with Vinegar Syndrome and gave the film a nice HD upgrade before releasing it on Blu-ray. The result is an excellent film that offers an entertaining horror experience from yesteryear.

If you are not familiar with MADMAN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome:

Years ago, Madman Marz violently murdered his family only to escape into the woods before his execution could be completed. Legend has it that anyone who calls his name can summon him back to continue his bloody rampage. But teenage Richie, away at camp, doesn’t believe the old legend and calls his name. As night falls, strange things start happening at at camp and soon Madman Marz is back, axe in hand, to finish the killing spree he started decades ago. One of the true classics of 80’s slasher cinema, Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents MADMAN on Blu-ray for the first time, newly restored in 4K from the camera negative!

I love the tagline for the film: “They thought they were alone.” It just screams ominous. And for its time period, way back in ’81, I’ll bet this was a perfect draw for horror fans.

MADMAN is shot well and looks good onscreen. The HD transfer is great and the sound quality is top notch. I am impressed with how crisp the picture looks for the most part; there are a couple of dark scenes that project a grainy image, but I would imagine that is due to the source material. Thankfully, they don’t detract from the film at all.

The acting in MADMAN is pretty good as well. Granted, I doubt any members of the cast won any awards for their performances, but at least they weren’t painful to watch. I particularly like Paul Ehlers, who portrayed Madman Marz. He is a towering presence onscreen, and he plays the villain with relished enthusiasm.

There’s a few gory deaths in the film, however many of them happen offscreen. The gore we do get to see is pretty well done, but you can certainly tell it is dated. The blood is a bit too bright and thin to be realistic, although I’ll bet it looked great back in the day.

I loved MADMAN, and I highly recommend it. Any horror fans looking for a nostalgic trek back into the early 80s will definitely want to check this out. It’s a fun romp into slasher territory, and it’s worth every minute of it. The film hits store shelves tomorrow.


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