Sunday, June 12, 2016

Madman, More Camp Counselors into the Blender

Yep....Gaylen Ross did make another good movie after starring in "Dawn of the Dead." 1982's "Madman" may be on a lower budget, a bit less ambitious, but still a memorable slasher film. Ms. Ross (aka Alexis Dubin) only appeared in four films, but to horror film fans, she is a legend. Though less apocalyptic than Romero's "Dawn," "Madman" may have a fate just as ominous to Ross' counselor character.  However standard this slasher film is, the ending (which won't be revealed here) sets it apart from other slasher films that have predictable conclusions.
A bunch of camp counselors are enjoying their last night before the parents arrive to reclaim their children.  A campfire tale spells out the relevant backstory: A madman (Paul Ehlers) took an ax to his wife and children.  The townspeople believed they hung him from a tree, but the next morning only a broken rope hung from that tree.  Years later....does he still roam the woods?  Yep.  Betsy (Ross) is spooked by the story which interferes with T.P.'s (Tony Fish) ability to get in her pants.  Oh yes, no one utters the madman's name, as that would waken him and send him on the warpath again.  Idiot Richie (Tom Candela) does the honor and yells "Madman Martz!"  Game on.
The counselors do anything they can to draw the fiend's wrath. With lots of under-age alcohol consumption and pre-marital sex, our counselors have no clue what awaits them.  When T.P offers a corny apology to Betsy, the two engage in a weird hot-tub ballet before their carnal relations. Meanwhile, Martz begins his deeds. When the staff, one by one, enter the woods to search for a missing counselor....Mars decapitates them.  As Martz accumulates a collection of corpses...but for what?...he sets his sight on the remaining counselors who haven't ventured into the woods. While most of the deceased, and ripped apart, counselors are brought to Matz' basement, poor Stacy (Harriet Bass) is shoved into the engine of a pick-up.  Figuring out that she is dealing with a psycho, Betsy arms herself with a shotgun and prepares to do battle with Martz.
Enough said about the plot.  However routine the above description seems, the final 15 minutes will hold a few surprises and one or two "OMG!" moments.  Directed by the late Joe Giannone, "Madman" premiered at theaters at the height of the slasher-film craze.  A morality film, no doubt, but also a classic campfire tale.  Available on YouTube, enjoy "Madman."

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