Here’s a little gem from the late 80s that I never heard about before, that is until Scream Factory decided to release it on Blu-ray. I, Madman is about a woman who’s imagination brings to life a killer in a pulp fiction book she is reading, titled the same as the movie. The movie is both equal part slasher and film noir, with several scenes taking place during the 50s era, with stylistic lighting and camera work. With plenty of murder, intrigue, and an interesting killer, I, Madman is one film worth checking out. See if you agree with me by reading on…
RUN-TIME: 89 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1989
RELEASE DATE: July 21st, 2015
“A witty, sophisticated horror film.” -Chicago Tribune
Gothic nightmares collide with gritty realism in this “stylish horror thriller [that] pulls you in and makes you pay attention” (Los Angeles Times)! After a spine-tingling paperback catches the imagination of bookstore clerk Virginia, she seeks out the author’s second book, I, Madman. But once she opens the cover, its eerie tale of obsessive love comes to life, catapulting a disfigured, scalpel-wielding killer from the world of fiction onto the streets of Hollywood with one demented goal: to win Virginia’s love, one murder at a time!
Starring Jenny Wright (Near Dark, The Lawnmower Man), Clayton Rohner (April Fool’s Day, The Human Centipede III) and three-time Academy Award® winner* Randall William Cook (Best Visual Effects, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy) as the mysterious and frightening Malcolm Brand, this “imaginative, scary” gem packs “a wow of an ending” (Leonard Maltin)!
*2001: Best Visual Effects, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring; 2002: Best Visual Effects, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers; 2003: Best Visual Effects, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of the King
Virginia (played by the lovable Jenny Wright) loves to get wrapped up in murder mysteries, and it’s her imagination that could possibly be the death of her. While working at a bookstore, she gets her hands on the pulp fiction book titled I, Madman. As she reads the book, the events start to come to life and affect the people around her, in a deadly way. The more she reads, the closer to death, she is getting, but can her boyfriend, Richard (played by April Fools Day actor Clayton Rohner,) who is a cop, save her from the inevitable tragic ending at the ends of the disconfigured madman, Malcolm Brand, or should he just leave this crazy woman who thinks the book she is reading is coming to life? Once you see her in her nighty, you’ll know what he decides to do.
I, Madman was a delightful treat, plain and simple. The story is highly imaginative and avoids many of the standard slasher tropes you come to expect in a late 80s horror film. It’s full of wonderful cinematography, with the noir scenes being the big highlight of the movie. There are several times where a scene will seamlessly transition into a different era. It’s quite the accomplishment if you ask me. Also, I really enjoyed the killer, Malcolm Brand in this movie, played by special effects artist Randall William Cook. He does a fantastic job conveying a menacing presence. The makeup effects for Brand are to die for.
There are only two things that bothered me. First was a creature that pops up at the beginning and the end of the movie. The effects for the creature are pretty poor compared to the rest of the movie, and it does take you out of the film a little bit. I could’ve done without it showing up at the end, and instead would’ve loved for the movie to have a much darker ending. The second thing is the story, as it’s a little light on the explanation. We never really do find out if Brand really does exist, or if most of this stuff was conjured from Virginia’s imagination only. Small nitpicks, but ones that I felt I should point out.
What can I say that I haven’t already said about Scream Factory and their Blu-rays. I love them, I really do. I know a lot of people have issues with them, such as compression problems or missing features, but honestly, most of that stuff doesn’t really bother me. I mean, yeah it’s a little annoying to see features missing, when they could’ve easily been added, but what we do get is way more than you would’ve ever expected for a movie that not many heard about. I, Madman is not spared the special treatment, as we get several special features, such as a 33 minute making of titled “Ripped From The Pages – The Making Of “I, Madman,”” 11 minutes of behind the scenes footage, trailers, galleries, and a commentary with Director Tibor Takacs and actor & artistic supervisor Randall William Cook.
As for the video and audio side of things, the most important aspect of the disc, things are looking quite well. The video retains a nice amount of grain, with only a few scenes looking a little rough around the edges. The noir 50s scenes stand out quite well in this format, and I would be surprised to see anyone saying anything highly negative about the video quality of I, Madman. The audio options are presented in two flavours, with English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I watched the movie in 5.1, but did not notice an enormous amount of rear channel use. Also, I found the audio to be a little low. From what I’ve heard from others, the 2.0 mix is the way to go with this movie, as it creates the most realistic representation of the original sound mix.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary Featuring Director Tibor Takacs With Actor & Artistic Supervisor Randall William Cook
- Ripped From The Pages – The Making Of “I, Madman,” Featuring Interviews With Director Tibor Takacs, Actor & Artistic Supervisor Randall William Cook, Screenwriter David Chaskin, Actor Clayton Rohner, And Actress Stephanie Hodge
- Behind The Scenes Footage With Audio Commentary By Randall William Cook
- Theatrical Trailer And Home Video Trailer
- Still Gallery With Optional Audio Commentary By Randall William Cook
I, Madman is one movie I’m very happy to have finally discovered. It’s an enjoyable 89 minutes of noir and slasher elements fantastically mixed together. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory ranks highly on my list of must owns and I think once you give this disc a spin, you’ll agree.