director Tibor Takács
I, Madman was recommended by a friend as an old favorite. I wasn’t familiar with it, but queued it up and as Netflix listed it as “Very Long Wait”, it’s taken a while to get around to it.
It’s a strange and cool movie starring Jenny Wright (who I was familiar with in the 1980’s from The Wild Life (1984), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), and Near Dark (1987), among others). Here she plays a young bibliophile and used bookstore clerk, who has just stumbled upon the only two books by an obscure pulp writer named Malcolm Brand. Brand’s books, “Much of Madness, More of Sin” about the attempts to make a jackal-boy and later the titular “I, Madman” which tells the story of an obsessive lover who has sliced off his facial features when rejected, turn out to not be pulp fiction, but confessions!
Though the film tries to tie its aesthetics to the Los Angeles film noir, it’s near campy storyline might be more akin to the Italian giallo. Fiction and reality blur for Wright’s young Virginia. Her cop boyfriend (Clayton Rohner of other 1980’s flicks like Just One of the Guys (1985) and April Fool’s Day (1986)) is tasked with solving the murders of a number of young women with lips or ears removed.
The make-up effects are great. And I have a soft-spot for stop-motion monsters when they show up. That, and the film’s tone, which is fun, not necessarily “tongue-in-cheek” but not out for pure thrills and chills, makes for a very fun movie.
Tibor Takács also made the 1985 film The Gate, which I remember liking well, but can’t really remember anything else about it. I’ll definitely be queuing that up for a re-visit.