I, Madman (1989)


Even though the premise sounds very ordinary and repetitive, this late 80’s thriller features an unusually great deal of tension and slick elements. Tibor Tikács’ (love the name) “I, Madman” focuses on a young woman – Virginia – obsessed by reading bloody horror novels. She recently discovered the oeuvre of a bizarre but stylish writer named Malcolm Brand. Especially his book “I, Madman” fascinates her as it describes the acts of a horribly deformed doctor who kills people in order to make an actress fall in love with him. But fiction turns into reality when Virginia finds herself chased by the book’s eerie doctor and murders are committed all around her. This film contains a few very bloody sequences but it’s not at all a gore flick like so many other similar productions from that decade. The power merely lies in the subtly build up suspense-scenes (with excellent depressing images of a nearly pauperized city) and, especially, the presence of an ultra-grim monster! This mad doctor/writer/hurt romanticist is a fine horror creation that’ll certainly appeal to every fan of the genre. Jenny Wright gives away a fairly good acting performance as the petrified heroine. Horror fanatics will surely recognize her from the outstanding vampire film “Near Dark” and a few years after this, she stars in “the Lawnmower Man”, next to Pierce Brosnan. The hunky guy who plays her boyfriend Richard isn’t very convincing as the police detective, though.

Horror in the 80’s got marked by a few obvious milestones (The Evil Dead, Day of the Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street…) and an overload of meaningless slashers. Between all those, there are a couple of worthy gems to discover, and “I, Madman” definitely is one of them. Tikács did a professional directing job here and he clearly controls the horror tactics well. This unquestionably is his best work as he later made the overly silly “The Gate” films