Released in 1982, Madman is another Slasher flick that features helpless campers sent to the slaughter for our viewing entertainment. At this point in the game you're probably thinking, "Again?!" Although it's difficult to overlook cliched elements within this sub-genre some movie directors manage to get the balance right - regardless of a low budget. This is where the cult classic, already-out-of-print Madman (aka Madman Marz) makes its appearance in order to woo us over.
The film opens with a varied group of campers huddled around a campfire in the dead of night, scaring each other with ghoulish stories of the macabre. Their supervisor and camp counselor, Max, entertains the small crowd with a grisly tale about a lunatic farmer by the name of Madman Marz; convicted for the crime of murdering his family, and as a result, condemned to hang by the neck. Marz escapes and remains on the prowl; widely believed to be a legend among the wide-eyed younglings. In common practice and impeccable timing, a young man by the name of Ritchie stands up and shouts Marz's name...challenging him to appear in order to prove the validity of his existence. The campers expire for the evening and reminisce about the fun times of the camping season. Waiting in the wings, however, is the 'Madman' - called forth by Ritchie and awaiting the opportunity to eviscerate the unsuspecting troupe.
Madman is a competent and simplistic Slasher from the early days of the sub-genre. The film's director, Joe Giannone, would not further his career as a director. He died in 2006 at the age of 60, leaving me to wonder how well he could've sculpted his talents had he pursued show business more adamantly. Gary Sales, one of the writers who contributed his talents to the film, is currently in the works with Paul Ehlers (the man who portrayed the 'Madman') to release a second film entitled "Madman Marz"...slated for a 2011 release in 3D. It's all part of the recent remake craze. Besides, Madman has generated enough underground interest that allows a remake of this caliber to happen.
Madman is definitely worth a look - from the isolated camp trails to the eerily shot Marz house, this film allows us to shut our brain off and enjoy a chilling collection of events. Think back four years ago to a splendid tale called Hatchet. There are obvious influences drawn from Madman and that's enough evidence to prove that this formula works.