Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.
We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly four dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1982 was that great of a year for film.
The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1982 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.
This time around it’s Jan. 1, 1982, and we’re off to see Madman!
Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.
1982 didn’t waste any time getting us back into the land of slasher films. Madman falls somewhere between slasher and “oh no, kids are alone in the woods!” more than anything, and plays off of the usual tropes of the backwoods killer with a dose of urban legend lore. This isn’t to say Madman is a jumbled mess, because it’s not, it just decides to pull its tropes from multiple sources instead of following just one paint-by-numbers slasher story.
The film kicks off with stories around the camp fire on the last night before all of the gifted children are sent home for… Thanksgiving? Who has a camp in the fall? It was a small thing, but it made me chuckle as this was clearly to cover why everyone had on coats and it was noticeably cold. Everyone learns the story of how Madman Marz killed his family and if you say his name above a whisper, it will summon him. Well, someone immediately says his name above a whisper.
What follows is your usual slasher vibe of how no one should ever be alone, but we have to give them points for at least one unusual kill. (The one involving the pickup truck) And the film also manages to actually avoid the “final girl” issue of so many slasher films of the time period.
Madman isn’t overly original, but it’s done well and certainly deserves a spot in any dice you do into slasher films from this time period.
1982 Movie Reviews will return on Jan. 22 with Death Valley, The Seduction, Shoot the Moon, and Vice Squad!
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