Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Vinegar Syndrome - MADMAN on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vinegar Syndrome - MADMAN on Blu-ray

MADMAN (1982; Joe Giannone)
MADMAN is among my favorite slasher movies from the 80s cycle. It's right up there with MY BLOODY VALENTINE and THE BURNING for me (and THE PROWLER as well which I know some dislike). One thing that I love about it is how it pretty much cuts right to the chase. The slasher formula usually dictates that there be an  "inciting incident" and then some expository stuff before the killer begins to terrorize the characters . This "incident" usually comes in the form of a death of some sort (often tied to the origins of the slasher character). This is a fun structure once you become accustomed to it, but it can sometimes be a long whole before the killing begins again (depending on the film in question). MADMAN has no inciting incident in that respect, but rather starts with a campfire tale explaining who Madman Mars is and that his name should never be uttered above a whisper. Of course some jackass has to break that rule and Madman is awakened. Like I said though, they don't mass around, so the kills start to get going within the first 10 minutes or so. Another cool thing about the movie is the design of Madman Mars himself. He really is pretty freaky looking and is more of a monster who resembles and old man. The filmmakers wisely keep him mostly in shadows towards the front of the film, which sets a delightful disturbing and uneasy atmosphere right away.
There's also a scene with a woman crying that has never left me since I first saw it. Horror movies and crying go hand in hand so one can become a little desensitized to it all. But the scene I am talking about does something unique in that the movie stays with this girl as she stumbles around hysterical and sobbing. It stays with here for a good couple minutes of her crying and wandering around looking for a friend of hers. She's just seen her boyfriend killed and this scene really allows that to set in a little and the whole thing gets kind of sad (in a moving kind of way) which is unusual for a slasher film. Usually what happens is that either this kind of scene is broken up by cutaways to other characters or the person crying is quickly dispatched, not allowing for any kind of emotional impact to be realized. I'm not saying this woman is the greatest actress ever, but I find her performance here (especially at the beginning of the scene) to be pretty genuine and affecting. Like I said though, the movie kind of stays with her through the crying and an attack from Madman Mars and the whole thing takes about 7 minutes or so, which is a decent chunk of the movie when it is near the end. I'll always remember this sequence for sure and it gives the movie more of poignant punch right towards the back end. The other thing that always stood to me was the fact that the movie has actress Gaylen Ross in a prominent role. She made a real impression on me when I first saw her in Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD for the first time. She had this bright blonde hair and striking eyes (in retrospect, her face and eyes remind me slightly of Uma Thurman). I saw her in CREEPSHOW after that and so when I finally saw MADMAN for the first time (when the Anchor Bay DVD came out in 2001), I was a bonafide Gaylen Ross fan. 

Special Features:

Vinegar Syndrome has really outdone themselves here as this disc is loaded to the absolute gills on top of the film being Scanned and restored in 4k from 35mm original camera negative (it looks good), It also has the following supplements:
+ New video interviews with star, Paul “Madman” Ehlers, Producer & co-creator Gary Sales, and for the first time ever, “Richie” actor Jimmy Steele.
+ The Legend Lives: 30 Years of Madman documentary by Victor Bonacore (90mins).
+ Madman: Alive at 35 featurette.
+ Commentary track with Producer, Director and Cast.
+ Commentary track by The Hysteria Continues!
+ Music Inspired by Madman featurette.
+ In Memoriam featurette.
+ Original Theatrical Trailer.
+ English SDH Subtitles
+ Reversible cover w/ original artwork (Designed by Madman himself, Paul Ehlers)

To top it all off, this is an All-Region Disc so it can be enjoyed anywhere in the world!

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