A campfire tale by Max (Carl Fredericks) is told about a legendary killer named Madman Marz (Paul Ehlers) in the area and if you call out his name he will arise to kill again in which a teenager named Richie (Jimmy Steele) calls out his name goofing around as well as throwing a rock at an abandoned house where he once lived.
After the campfire tale is done for the night Richie wanders off spotting this maniac as he spies and kills the residents one by one with an axe.
One of the main campers named Betsy (Gaylen Ross) realises some of her friends looking for Richie hasn't returned and ends up in danger for this killer. This was all prevented simply because his name has been called.
The film starts off with some nice artsy red type of blotches showing the title as well as who starred in it etc. which seems to look like one of those drive-in types which is what I like in a movie and then later on a creepy campfire story is told by a middle aged man named Max about the legend of Madman Marz which looked spooky to watch and the dark surroundings around the bonfire looked perfectly done. Plus there's alot of disturbing flashback sequences which looked nicely shocking involving someone being hung or killed by an axe. There's great spooky one liners with Max warning the others not to call his name or he will come and kill once again in which there's a great moment with a cocky teen named Richie calling out his name and throwing a rock at a window of a supposed abandoned house where this maniac supposedly lives in which this offers more chills thinking to myself he's done it now and the terror will start very soon.
Then when everyone heads back to their campground after the bonfire Richie spots an object standing in the trees as this was creepy to watch and goes and explores the house and everything else giving you a chilling feeling that he is in for trouble. Alot of this does give you a dark sinking feeling.
One of the people helping out at the camp walks near a doorway and Marz suddenly jumps out to kill him as this was supposed to make you jump and it almost does but it almost looked a little too obvious here. Still the setting in the night made it look spooky nonetheless and should please any slasher fan.
Plus for any teen slasher flick there a couple skinny dipping in a jacuzzi at one of the lodges which seems to work in well along with the killer watching in one of the windows as this looked creepier than any Friday the 13th film on how this was all set.
There's also a scene with someone climbing up a hill and having a hard time in which is a great target for this maniac to get them and when this fellow succeeds to climb all the way up we spot the killers hands grabbing the dirt after their foot gets away. This is used in every kids imagination trying to succeed in climbing something in the dark before some monster gets them.
There's also someone starting up their vehicle with Marz closing in about to grab a door handle and the vehicle takes off which showsa another nice pointer on a suspenseful momet here.
But then the story becomes even spookier as one of the counsellors named TP calling out for Richie in the dark tall woods and it's windy which makes it even more mysterious and spooky along with him using a flashlight and spotting something in the woods leaving a chill down your spine for even people who enjoy being scared getting a kick out of this. Suddenly he is caught in Marz's trap getting hung and he struggles to try and not choke to death which sometimes looked hard to watch as this seemed intense. It was nicely put in.
After a while amother adult camper named Dave starts searching for the missing people as the tall dark woods looked even creepier than ever on how everything was shot. Also this dude tries to dodge Marz when he attacks him with a machette making you wonder if he succeeded or not by getting him. It took a while but it made me cringe all that time.
There's a good shocked and gruesome moment right in your face on a headless corpse while Ellie is looking for Dave which can make people who can't adjust to gore be grossed out or at the same time please gorehounds that love a nice shocking scare while spotting this.
Also another one named Ellie runs away and tries to hide in a refrigerator in the cafeteria area of the camp ground in which you don't see this everyday for a hideout so this is something different. yet she pants and panicks which isn't smart as this maniac can possibly hear her. Just then after she comes out of the fridge things are quiet and no one around which looked clever as we know the killer hasn't left the room but is hiding somewhere and planning something deadly for this woman.
The suspense keeps packing up with Betsy gathering the kids to get into a schoolbus and drive away while Marz is on her tail making you want to keep watching and hoping that she will get away safe from him.
There's also a perfect ending that involves Richie towards Max about his story that he told at the campfire which was one of the best scene's used for the story. It almost made you beg for a sequel.
Bottom line is even if the story was taking place at night at a summer camp the scenery looked very autumn and coldlike and a perfect one to watch on Halloween as well as it being made on almost a similar low budget like the original Phantasm. It seems to go around in circles and not having a big plotline but hey that's okay as the killings and shocking moments on the killer made up for all of that and can be adored by the same fans who enjoy other early 80's slasher flicks like The Burning and Hell Night. Plus there seems to be a bit of a paying tribute to Halloween involving the Madman's home as well as a tiny bit of elements on Friday the 13th too but this killer was alot scarier. He has claws. However you can tell that it's a glove made costume in which this looked slightly cheesy but not terrible looking. This also could scare people into talking about a campfire tale imagining that this could really happen or a killer can get you if you stay out at night not managing to pick up speed entering a cabin home out in the deep dark woods. The film was pretty much obscure and quite cult but the makers were very imaginative ghost telling type of story made onto a horror film and is worth checking out for any slasher fan.
The acting is not too badly done in which lead actress Gaylen Ross (Betsy) shows a nice decency to her role as well as her stunning looks too which combines well together. She also speaks very clearly in her words and shows a nice concern to what she thinks that is happening out there. She draws in a good scream queen type of role even if she never continued to act in a buch of other horror films.
Tony Fish (TP) was a little too flat in his character as one of the main camp owners in which he tries his best to create his characteristics but doesn't seem to succeed seeming like one of those typical virtual unknowns you see in a low budget slasher film. His looks were quite rough too. Oh well not everyone was meant to be in the acting business.
Harriet Bass (Stacy) shows a nice bubbly type of personality onto the screen acting light hearted with what she does and being very full of life as well as having some good energy into everything that she does in the flick. She seemed to know her stuff not too badly.
Jan Claire (Ellie) showed her stuff well with her terrifying screams and frightened attitude but at times she seems to slope alot but picks herself up again. She shows a nice innocence into her part as well as someone who likes to enjoy things whenever something terrifying isn't happening to her beforehand drawing eveything in nicely.
Jimmy Steele (Richie) really had a great key supporting role in the film as he showed a nice troublemaking hyperactive attitude. Sometimes it was too much though but seemed to grab attention onto the screen when he is seen on and off. He also does well acting shocked by what he sees. He deifentely could become a cult item due to his work in this film for anyone who has seen this.
Carl Fredericks (Max) was another great key supporting role drawing across a good eccentric type of attitude especially during his campfire tale making him seem quite mysterious but goodhearted to how he reacts towards others. He was the best actor I found and stole the film with his performance even if his role wasn't too big. He reminds me of a Vincent Price type pf personality and studied this part perfectly.
Gaylen Ross briefly exposes her breasts and butt while hopping into a jacuzzi along with Tony Fish exposing his butt too.
Some graphic slayings are exposed during a flashback sequence on a storytelling like someone's head being sliced or cut off, bloody gunshots etc.
A throat is gruesomely slit cut open big time.
A couple heads are chopped off as well as showing the remains of the bodies.
A body is bloodily splattered against a window.
A face is clawed.
Bloodied bodies and bloodsheds here and there.
Joe Giannone brought out a ton of creepy moments while working with his actors for this film as he shows a good close up shot on supporting actor Carl Fredericks while telling a campfire story in which he has a good creepy and serious tone to his speech and took instructions terrifically well as I found this to be the best directing effort ever. There's also a good moment with supporting actor Jimmy Steele calling out and acting hyper about it which seemed a little too overly directed but not terrible.
Gaylen Ross shows a good concerned attitude towards Fredericks about his story telling which seemed natural on how she was having her discussion with him.
Many good shots on Steele showing scared expressions while walking through an inside of a house as well as spotting something in a tree in which he drew Giannone's work well as what to do and how to react to everything.
There's a good uplifting dialogue between Ross with Harriet Bass while talking in a room of a cabin in which this flowed well with talking about their past and their friendship.
A nice shot on Bass struggling up a hill and having a hard time in which she shows good struggling energy while doing all of this.
Giannone coaches both Ross and Tony Fish quite soothingly while they enter a jacuzzi with good circling shots on them moving around along with making out towards one another.
Giannone was a little rough coaching Seth Jones goofing around speaking firmly while holding a knife as this didn't seem too convincing.
Good surprised reaction on Fish while looking around in the woods with a flashlight calling out as well as good close up shots and shocked struggling reactions on him while he gets hung showing great energy on him struggling.
Nice shocked reaction on Jones while looking around the woods with his flashlight as well as nice scared reactions after a corpse falls on him showing good hyped up energy and his dodging's from the killer trying to attack him as the directing here was at a high fast pace.
A nice camera shot on supporting actress Jan Claire looking shocked and screaming in terror which looked cinvincing after she spots something but yet when she runs away panicking this lacked a bit. However the directing improves when she panicks talking towards supporting actor Alexander Murphy Jr. which looked quite energised on both ends of these cast members.
Claire does a great job panicking while running in a cafeteria and throwing food out of a fridge as well as climbing inside in which this looked highly energised. She also does well slowly getting out and walking towards a doorway as well as a great shot on her screaming in terror again showing a nice wide eyed expression.
A good close up shot on supporting actor Paul Ehlers as Madman Marz holding an axe in the dark and slowly walking up but yet how he does this looked slightly off and could've looked creepier.
Nice movements with Ehlers attacking Ross and a good shot on her falling to the ground but yet her screaming or reactions were a bit low on energy.
A nice moment with Fredericks approaching Steele trying to talk to him as well as a great shocked reaction on him as this was very energised.
The music was composed by Stephen Horelick as it was cheesily done by a synthesizer yet it was effective for the story in which he brings it to a good spooky feel to it all. There's some low pounding sounds for the real dark windy scene's or when there's a shocking gruesome moment we hear some real hyped up icy and screechy sounds which also worked as well. There's also hissing effects too. The music's sounds have an edgy feel for watching on Hallows Eve as it sounded that fun hearing this with what is happening.
The songtrack at the end of the movie titled "Song of Madman Mars" really brought a great spooky feel to the film with the vocalising while the closing credits were rolling up and was a perfect one for the film.