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!
In the film, I, MADMAN, Virginia is a young woman who works at Vattey's Book City, a new and used bookstore. Seeing as she is usually surrounded by books during her day job, it's only natural that see often finds herself taken by a new book. The latest title to really catch her attention is the Horror title "Much of Madness, More of Sin", by Author Malcolm Brand. The book, which focuses on a shunned Scientist, named Dr. Alan Kessler, who was ultimately ousted by his peers for his unorthodox practices involving cross-breeding, gamers much of Virgina's attention. So much so, that she becomes enthralled with the with the work. Her interest in the title subsequently causes her to desperately seek out Brand's follow-up, a novel called "I, Madman". Essentially a sequel to "Much of Madness, More of Sin", "I, Madman" resumes the story of Dr. Kessler, whom we now find, is madly in love with an Actress named Anna. When Anna rejects Kessler, citing his unattractiveness, the Scientist takes it upon himself, to first slice his ear off with a straight razor, and the later, the rest of his face - thus making a Science of himself. In the mean time, Kesler becomes a serial killer, who collects various "parts" from his victims, as he so desperately, continues to pursue Anna. Much like "Much of Madness, More of Sin", the tale of the deranged lover captivates Virginia, the reader. But this time, even more so than last, as it would appear that her vivid imagination has somehow catapulted the troubled character from the book, into real life. The story takes a turn as the straight razor wielding madman stalks the streets, acting out the events from the book, as he now pursues Virginia, whom resembles Anna(what a convenient coincidence). With events in the real world playing out as they did in the written work, that would mean that he is killing to collect the essentials to construct the "perfect face" for his "lover's approval. However, this also means that the killer plans to have his object of desire's heart by any means necessary, even if by extraction! With this in mind, it's up to both Virginia and her Detective boyfriend,Richard to stop the madman, before this story comes to an end, in the way it was, of course written.
Written by the Writer of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2's David Chaskin, and Directed by THE GATE's Tibor Takacs. I,MADMAN is a film about life imitating art in an imaginative form. Much like a film that I reviewed most recently, 1987's CELLAR DWELLER, I, MADMAN is a film which presents a story which sees an artist's creation come to life in the real world. In the case of I, MADMAN, that artist in question is Author Malcolm Brand. In the film, Brand was a Horror novelist, whose work has recently captured the eye of young book store clerk Virginia, who just cannot seem to get enough. However, instead of just bringing the character to life in a real life scenario, while he actively plays out the events of the book, I, MADMAN, cleverly takes its story one step further by having the killer to be later revealed the Author himself. Yes, in the film, Malcolm Brand is the real "Dr. Alan Kessler", as he actually based the character and his story on himself. Thus making his works, not fiction, but fact. For someone who had not seen the film prior to, I felt that this was a nice little element added to the film, which gave it a little more depth than it once had. The depth of the film, only goes as far as Virginia doing a little digging, which eventually leads her to finding that the doctor has somehow resurrected himself, by way of her imagination, and that >i>he is actually the character that she has been reading about. Other than that, the film plays out as a campy, yet imaginative slasher, one that pits the villain in a showdown with a stop-motion animated Jackal-human halfbreed of his own creation in the end.
Overall, I,MADMAN is, a fun effort. Yes, it may be a little on the cheesy side of things at times, but one has to respect the creativity that went into making this film. This is especially true when speaking about the special effects work seen here, as provided by the award winning, Randall William Cook. Here, not only does Cook design and handle most of the film's effects work, he was also the film's stop-motion animator, in addition to playing the film's villain, Malcolm Brand himself. In the film, Cook seems to do it all, and his work here is certainly impressive. And while the addition to the stop-motion creature is cheesy and most odd, it is definitely one of the elements of the film that stands out the most. I actually liked the idea of Virginia and Richard, in the end, bringing to life yet another of Brand's creation's to possibly destroy him, as the film comes full circle. It was certainly a nice touch.
While it isn't a great film, I guess you could say. It's definitely one that's pretty fun and a little inventive as well. It uses a formula similar to the one that the ELM STREET films utilized to popular effect, and so I, MADMAN feels pretty familiar, making it a film that is easy for the viewer to comfortably slip into.
The film is presented here on Blu-Ray for the first time, by SCREAM! FACTORY.Included on the disc is a "Making of" featurette, behind-the-scenes footage, and an effects still gallery, along with the film's video and Theatrical trailer.
Some details are as follows :
"Ripped from the Pages - The Making of I, MADMAN" (33m 23s) This Making of featurette features interviews with- Writer David Chaskin, Director Tibor Takacs, Actor/Artistic Supervisor Randall William Cook, and Actress Stephanie Hodge. Those involved recall what it was like to make I, MADMAN. A variety of topics are discussed, from writing the script, casting, and special effects, all are discussed in detail, and very lovingly.
Behind the Scenes footage - with Commentary by Randall William Cook (11m 07s) Behind-the-scenes footage, which is narrated by the film's Artistic Supervisor, Randall William Cook.
Special Effects Still Gallery (06m 47s)
5/10 The score and soundtrack for the film feels very retro, featuring an old-school pop tune, as well as classic atmosphere and suspense to create a unique feel for the film. I felt that at times the film at sort of a European vibe.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
While I did immediately compare the content of this film, to that found in CELLAR DWELLER, in a more technical comparison, this film, I feel is slightly better in terms of overall story and execution. While CELLAR DWELLAR also involved the aspect of an artist's vision coming to life in our world, in terms of story, although still fun,CELLAR DWELLER is admittedly hollow. That is where I, MADMAN improved on the general idea. It gives us a little more to take in, and most importantly it gives us, the audience, a villain that we will most likely will remembers. So, in a few words, though flawed, I,MADMAN gets the job done. It all makes for a film that is both stylish and a little fun.
Special Features include :
- 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