The late director Joe Giannone truly created a seriously fun slasher film for the average viewer to thoroughly enjoy and never looked back, taking cues from the industry and fan base, he originally set out to make a Cropsey killer legend movie, however The Burning (1981) beat him to the punch, hence the designing of Madman Marz. The slasher genre ran supreme and unchallenged in the early eighties with the carnage camp bloodbaths piling the body counts up each weekend with a measure dose of sin factors exposed name sexual suggestions and exposures. Joe’s villain goes by the name of Marz a hulking backwoods creature-man with abilities to inflict damage and harm to anyone crossing his path and delivering bloodcurdling screams, and sheer panic in every victim. It has your attention right there if you are serious dedicated gore and horror hound fan, the one that craves this vehicle of fun and with a Grindhouse flavor for all.

A simple enough plot, the final night of a summer camp for youth, and a campfire tale about Madman Marz and suddenly the counselors find themselves meeting the gruesome fates after tangling with the beastly killer, who was provoked into action. The legend of the killer, ruthlessly murdered his entire family, after years of beating and abusing his wife and children, the farmer took his ax and diced up his entire family resulting in the local community striking his face with the same ax and lynching him. Now in death he returns with those that call out his name. So a few urban legends come into play, and the creation of the killer born presenting a fun and entertaining string of savage murders. The story has a slow burn to it and that works a bit more sophisticated design to the mayhem, which even contains a reference to My Bloody Valentine (1981) very tiny and quick well worth the effort to find it. J.P. sings a ditty that reminds slasher of fans of the memorable campfire scenes of other horror films, and longing for the return to this era. The patience pays off in the movie, for once the killing starts a rapid-fire methodical onslaught starts. In addition, character Betsy appears familiar to the audience, and though billed as Alexis Dubin, which actually is Gaylen Ross the heroine in the outstanding Dawn of the Dead (1978) and later in the same year of this film Creepshow. Herein the fans enjoy the treats of a romantic element and bit of T&A from her and why not it is that type of film to presents everything. The entire movie checks off every require box in the slasher menu, from odd dialogue to quirky music, and yet never loses track of the body count, provides a very successful and original struggling for survival of a hanging victim. One must not forget the POV shots from the killer, and the raising of the ax for chilling effect.

Originally, Giannone, wanted Vincent Price for the role of Max, but his decline was just one of several aspects to overcome, and with success that occurs, from the spooky natural qualities of the trees and the other visual common traits in the slasher films, lent themselves to a few frames from cinematographer James Lemmo (who later worked on Maniac Cop [1988]), in wonderful fashion. The cast presents themselves equally especially Tony Fish, who passed in 2009, and this was his only film ever, made the most notable contribution as the one who provokes the monster Marz.

As the 1980s brought a slew of horror movies, into the slasher market and many succeeding with sequels, gaining personal attention with more iconic figures such as Jason Voorhees and this production, run just below the line of attention, and only with time has it garnered cult status. It has become an underrated horror gem, with serious horror fans, seeking the hidden treasures of a bygone era, tired of the glossy covers seeking to discover the richness of the seedy past. However, Vinegar Syndrome brings the treasure home with a classy print and release on Blu-ray, for the fans to savor, with great sound and picture quality with a 90-minute documentary, and loads more features that are special.

Madman is a film perfect for the horror fans wanting to recapture past glories of their youth in the horror slasher delights, and also for those desire to watch every horror film completest. This movie delivers nasty efficient killing methods, with brutal intensity that truly what the eighties delivered and shock the parents of then. The summer camp sub-genre still exists with bloody good film and formula still actively working and very sure not to disappoint those who enjoy these types of films filled with the defenseless victims, monstrous kills, and the measure T&A with effective music and mounting slaughter fest!

This review was originally published on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website in October 2015 with a view count of 1,851.


  • Don’t say his name!
  • They thought they were alone.
  • Deep in the woods, lurks a hideous evil… Don’t even whisper his name!

IMDb Rating: 5.3/10

Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10