4K UHD Review: Madman

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When parents are considering camps for their children, they ought to consult a guide for ax murdering urban myths to make sure the camp is “safe.” The parents that sent their kids to the fall camp didn’t seem to care that the cabins are a stone’s throw from the house of Madman Marz? Who is Madman Marz? Well years before he flipped out one night and chopped up his wife and kid with an ax. He was caught when he showed up at a nearby bar with a bloody ax. The locals hung Marz that night. In the morning, his body was missing along with the wife and kid. Supposedly if you scream out his name, he’ll awaken and come after you. How do I know about this? Because the camp counselor told the story around fire at the beginning of Madman. Why wasn’t this information in the camp brochure? Madman is a low budget horror film shot in New York during the time when summer camp slaughters were always one the movie marquee.

Naturally after being told the story about Madman Marz, one of the kids at camp has to shout out the name thinking it’s just a joke. To make sure Marz knows he’s being called out, the kid also throws a rock that breaks a window in Marz’s house. It does seem a bit like a joke until an angry shadow appears in the trees over the camp. Madman Marz is back and he’s ready hack away on the last night of camp before the Thanksgiving break. This stinks because most of the counselors are using this as the perfect night to hook up after the campers go to their bunk houses. For a summer camp, the place has a massive hot tub that’s used by the camp counsellors for their frisky business. Except nobody gets to truly enjoy the night since Madman Marz keeps killing counselors.

The kills in Madman are rather creative. There’s a fine moment when you think someone has figured out a way to avoid being hung in a tree. Madman Marz isn’t done with him. There’s a shockingly good headless reveal. The camp folklore litters the plot including “sword in the stone” fun involving a legendary ax trapped in a stump at the camp. Guess who has the power to pull it out?

Madman plays like a deep cut from an era when people flocked to the theaters to watch camp counsellors get massacred. Since the cast doesn’t feature any hot stars (Gaylen Ross had appeared in Dawn of the Dead) so everyone on staff is potential kindling for Madman Marz and his ax. Fans of the film should be excited to get to experience the film in 4K UHD. You’ll get to see the movie probably better than when the 35mm print arrived in your town back in 1981.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 4K UHD brings out a lot of details that were missing from the VHS release. The film was shot at night so this is the way to watch the excitement. The audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0. You’ll hear when Madman Marz sneaks up from the side. The movie is subtitled.

Blu-ray with the features found on the 4K UHD disc.

“I’m Not a Screamer” (19:30) is a brand new interview with lead actress Gaylen Ross. She admits she doesn’t miss acting. She had done a few George Romero classics including Dawn of the Dead. She agreed to do Madman since she was pals with producer Gary Sales. She talks about how the funding delay made the film go from summer camp to some sort of fall retreat as they shot right before Thanksgiving.

Commentary track with director Joe Giannone, producer Gary Sales, and actors Paul Ehlers and Tony Nunziata get deep into what it takes to shoot all night.

Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues! has them discuss how they discovered the film. They point out the identity of the graphic designer for the opening titles.

An interview with creator/producer Gary Sales (14:18) he talks about how his music career vision didn’t work and he decided to get into film school in Staten Island. He got into working in film in New York City. He didn’t get into the adult film industry since it’s run by the mobsters. He got into horror.

An introduction by Gary Sales (0:52) is him talking about the 4K restoration from the original negative. He’s happy with the results.

“Alive at 35” (21:02) has Gary Sales reunite Paul “Madman” Ehlers, and “Richie” actor Tom Candela for the first time in 35 years. They seem surprised that the film has a fan base and excited at the new HD transfer. Ehlers has them over to his house.

“The Legend Still Lives! – 30 Years of Madman” (91:42) is an extensive making-of documentary by Victor Bonacore. The crew discuss the buying frenzy for horror films in the early ’80s since the studios needed low budget frights. Gary Sales was able to get one guy to back the entire budget.

Original theatrical trailer (1:48) has a campfire tale turn into reality.

Still Gallery (7:20) has behind the scenes photos, posters and other artifacts from the release.

In Memoriam featurette (5:46) includes cast and crew that have passed over the decades. Director Joe Giannone died in 2006.

TV Spots (1:59) begins the nightmare.

Music Inspired by Madman (13:17) are songs people have written.

Deadpit interviews with Gary Sales & Paul Ehlers (3:39) is a chat at a horror convention. They talk about Gary Sales wanting to remake the movie.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Madman. Directed by Joe Giannone. Screenplay by Joe Giannone. Starring Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Seth Jones, Jan Claire, Alex Murphy, Jimmy Steele, Carl Fredericks, Michael Sullivan and Paul Ehlers. Running Time: 88 minutes. Rating: R Rated. Release Date: February 11, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.