We’re back with Joe Bob again this week at The Last Drive-In, exclusively on Shudder. Have you been watching them live? If not, you should really consider doing so and hopping on Twitter to join in the hashtag conversation at #TheLastDriveIn. It’s an incredible communal experience, and if I can take a moment to toot my own horn, it’s great to get retweets and the like from Joe Bob, Darcy, and the crew at Shudder.
Opening Rant: Staten Island (it’s like New York’s New Jersey!)
Madman is a 1982 slasher film set at a camp on Staten Island. The campers and counselors alike are menaced by “Madman” Marz, a former resident of the area who murdered his wife and child and was set to hang until he escaped into the woods. After a campfire tale he is unwittingly summoned by one of the campers. The film is loosely based on the Cropsey legend of Staten Island. Madman was also in production alongside The Burning (1981) and necessitated rewrites so the two films would not be so similar.
Madman stars Galen Ross (of Dawn of the Dead fame, under the name Alexis Dubin), Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, and Paul Ehlers as “Madman” Marz and directed by Joe Giannone. The film is probably most known for the iconic VHS cover.
Joe Bob Briggs was fairly generous with Madman, awarding it 3 stars. The film is particularly notable for Galen Ross’s desire to not be linked to it and the fact that few of the cast and crew went on to do much else. That is, of course, contrasted by Paul Ehlers, “Madman” Marz himself, who was a huge horror fan and was bothered that Madman was never really featured in Fangoria. That being said, it certainly probably doesn’t help that we later see Joe Bob holding up a recent Fangoria cover featuring himself. Kind of rubbing it in there, Joe Bob. What comes across most in Joe Bob’s asides, though, is his love for the folks of Staten Island and his knowledge of the lives of #mozzarellahairgel folks. For example, Joe Bob’s insights into Richmond College, where a large group of the cast and crew came from, were also quite hilarious; statistically speaking, 98% of us reading now are likely to be accepted there.
That being said, Joe Bob also suggests that Madman is a great example of the Three Aristotelian Unities. I’m not going to dive too far into it here, but the key here is that Madman is a tight little film, unified in action (a massacre), location (a camp), and time (one night). For fun, read that link and see how the French debated endlessly about the specifics of these unities.
Madman does have a couple of memorable things going for it. The Moog synth score is pretty fun, and the theme is incredibly catchy. Sadly, most of the enjoyment of the movie comes from some of the more earnest attempts at something much better that fail. To invoke TVTropes we’ll just go with “narm.” Overall the film is only a 2 star affair. Most of the enjoyment of the film (especially if you are not already one of the huge fans of it) comes from watching with Joe Bob. This film is worth the price of admission alone for the wonderful Joe Bob sing-a-long to wrap up the half of the double-feature.
Best Line: “Google that fucker.” (Joe Bob’s motto, not part of the movie. There are no really good lines in the movie, to be honest.)
Wolf Guy (1975)
Opening Rant: Japanese monster films (Joe Bob talks about the lack of monsters in Japan).
The second film of the night was the 1975 supernatural cop and Yakuza film, Wolf Guy. Though to be more accurate, the full title is Wolf Guy: Enranged Lycanthrope. The film was loosely based on the Wolf Guy manga written by Kazumasa Hirai and illustrated by Hisashi Sakaguchi. The film stars Sonny Chiba (!!!) as Akira Inugami, a supernaturally powered cop who uses his abilities as the last survivor of the Wolf Clan to solve underworld crimes. The movie directed (and largely forgotten) by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi also stars Rikiya Yasuoka, Saburo Date, Koji Fujiyama, Tooru Hanada, Ryuji Hayami, Jiro Ibuki.
Of the two films of the week, Wolf Guy towers over Madman. Wolf Guy is a perfect film for The Last Drive-In with some amazingly totals, much like the Thanksgiving marathon’s Dead or Alive. I mean, 78 dead bodies, 26 breasts, and 27 gallons of blood definitely puts most films on The Last Drive-In to shame in sheer excess. Naturally, Joe Bob gave Wolf Guy the 4 star treatment.
Some of the great moments of the night included The Last Drive-In‘s art director Yuki (the Tokyo Cowboy) popping in to talk Japanese film with Joe Bob, including his experience working with Sonny Chiba. We were also treated to a special The Last Drive-In title-card featuring the show’s resident lizard, Ernie.
Naturally, what was most fascinating were the insights that were made into the production of such a fast and loose adaptation of a manga with a b-movie budget, including director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s apparent philosophy of “just keeping it moving” by throwing in fight scenes.
When it gets down to the Haunted MTL review, this film is loosely horror adjacent. There are no transformations into lupine form and the film is more of a Yakuza and martial arts story that was in the standard for Toei Studios. It is a notable and unique interpretation of the werewolf, however. Overall, the film is absolutely bonkers in the best way imaginable and is well worth watching. The score, for example, is particularly good, featuring some great 1970s sleazy sounds. Haunted MTL has to give Wolf Guy 3 and 1/2 stars, merely because the film was not quite enough of a horror film.
But damn, what an experience.
Best Line: “Right now I am a woman who wants an animal.”
- 2 Black shirts with blue floral trim and an orange/slider bolo ties (Joe Bob wore the same getup on the Fangoria cover he displayed)
- 1 Darcy Cosplay (Synthetic Wolf Guy!)
- 1 Kaiju Rampage (Ernie messed up his little trailer and smashed the TV!)
- 1 Awkward Spinning in Hot Tub Sex(?) Sequence
- 1 Satisfying Neck Snap Foley Hit
- 1 Reading Rainbow connection (and won’t you be surprised!)
- 1 Wolf Mother-Wife
- 1 Hair Trigger Final Girl Shotgun Blast to a Counselor Corpse
- 2 Potential Future Films (The Burning and Willard)
- 3 Aristotelian Unities
- 4 Twitter Bans for Darcy (get your shit together, Jack)
- 9 Sonny Chiba Films in 1975 Alone
- 1060 dollars for Michael Barryman’s favorite wolf sanctuary raised by the signed figure auction from the Thanksgiving marathon
- Attempting to Dislodge an Ax but Making It Look Like Vigorous Tandem Genital Rubbing Fu
- Folk Song Fu
- Suckle Fu
- Synth Stings
- Sonny Chiba Stares
- Dive Bar Jokes
- Catholic/Jewish Jokes
- Sex Scene Face Maulings
As always, please share your thoughts with us about The Last Drive-In. Also, please check out our other great content here at Haunted MTL.
And, as always, beware the “Madman” Marz…