DIRECTOR: Joe Giannone
SCREENPLAY: Joe Giannone
STARRING: Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Brass
RUNNING TIME: 88 mins
FORMAT: Dual format Blu-ray/DVD
I rather like it when fictitious American teenagers get killed on holiday. I own the entire Friday the 13th series (yes, even Friday the 13th VIII – Jason Goes on a Rather Dull Yacht Trip and Barely Visits Manhattan) and they’re only the popular, leading edge of the Summer Camp Looks a Bit Fraught sub-genre. What about Sleepaway Camp? Not just the nuts, almost good original, but the sequels where a member of Bruce Springsteen’s close family executes the rude? Or The Burning, where a teenage peeping tom finally gets lucky (but not in the way he hopes)? Or even Not A Good Camping Holiday entries such as Just Before Dawn and The Final Terror?
Woods have been dangerous for the promiscuous since 1980. So what makes 1982 example, Madman worth seeking out amongst the other, blood-spattered bushes in this overgrown, lake-filled chunk of the great outdoors? To be honest, not much.
What makes Madman a surprisingly weak movie is that it’s dull. If there’s one thing you can’t get away with in the slasher genre it’s tedium. There’s an overlong scene where Ross and Fish share a hot tub. They kiss as if human faces are now constructed of dog’s bottoms, while the strains of a cringeworthy song limp on through the flatulent bubbles, and on, and on… They know they should be enjoying this moment, they know they should be in love but they can’t quite manage it. I knew how they felt.
As always with Arrow, the extras are expansive and they almost make up for the movie. There are a couple of audio commentaries, a feature length documentary about the making of the film (which is certainly more interesting than the film they’re all talking about), a more informal retrospective piece, a look at the career of producer Gary Sales and even – the horror! – a selection of songs inspired by the movie.