The 1980s were the Renaissance of slasher films. Starting with Friday the 13th in 1980 and kicking into high gear in 1984 with the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street (a franchise that would make New Line Cinema become known as The House That Freddy Built), slashers reached the highest highs and the lowest lows in the 80s.
Taking the structure of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974) and John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), studios realized they could make a lot of money chopping up teens, so much so that genre would collapse in on itself like a dying star before the decade was done. While the formula of these films may be a simple one, randy teens get offed by local psycho in 90 minutes or less, very few films succeeded in creating gory and entertaining chills and thrills. The demand and output of slasher films in the 80s left many a good slice-and-dice relegated to the DVD reminder bin.
Here are 10 worth searching out…
10. Madman (1982)
Here’s a tip… when someone warns you not to yell out the name Madman Marz lest it summon him to reprise his killing spree, don’t do it. But of course we’re in the land of slasher movie logic so the über masculine jerk around the campfire yells it out bringing Madman Marz back to life which starts a killing spree among a group of unsuspecting campers.
While Madman may have been made on a shoestring budget (possibly consisting of just a shoestring) the film has real visual flair and an unrelenting killer. In this case the low budget actually adds to the realism of the film a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It is simple, chilling and bizarre. Remember, don’t say Madman Marz’s name above a whisper. It’s not a legend. It’s a warning.