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I, Madman (1989)

1 rating: 3.0
A movie

Gothic nightmares collide with gritty realism in this "stylish horror thriller [that] pulls you in and makes you pay attention" (Los Angeles Times)! Laced with sly humor, this "imaginative, scary" gem packs "a wow of an ending" (Leonard Maltin)! After … see full wiki

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1 review about I, Madman (1989)

I mad woman like I, Madman.

  • Nov 19, 2007
This is interesting film that's been tip-off to me. I thought Canadian genre director Tibor Takacs, (more well-known for The Gate ), done a great job with this film. I, MADMAN is a loving salute to the days when movie monsters had hearts. For those who don't know this film is about a second-hand bookstore clerk Virginia Clayton becomes absorbed in the book `I, Madman' by Malcolm Brand. In the book the deranged, deformed Dr Kessler is obsessed with beautiful actress Anna Templar and kills victims, sewing part of each victim's face onto his own. But as Virginia continues to read, someone starts to emulate the killings in the book, targeting the people around her.

Takacs includes some wonderfully grisly scenes in which he injects himself with Novocain and slices off his own facial features with a scalpel to send as love gifts to the heroine and then cuts up the people in her life and reattaches their facial parts to himself. There is a tragic Phantom of the Opera -like to the villain's love, although this doesn't perhaps get as much airing as it should. One would have preferred if Kessler were allowed to speak - what expression such a character would have.

The atmosphere of this film is very good like others has mention here and the moody moments was inviting. The most intriguing aspect of the film is its double-structure, flipping between the plot of the book and the reading heroine's life with both heroines being played by the same actress. It is filled with all manner of fascinating small details - the way a rose knocked over in the book is mirrored in the real world; how when a tea kettle is placed on in the book one starts whistling in the real world even though we never saw Jenny Wright put one on when she entered the apartment. And although Kessler is given a nominally rational explanation, by the end of the story we are never entirely certain whether it was Brand or Kessler that has been pursuing the heroine - certainly the explanation that would rely on it being Brand offers no explanation of how the abovementioned incidents of meta-fictional synchronicity occurred.

Less effective is Takacs's cast. Jenny Wright is obviously a sweet heart but seems distant and not really emotionally involved at times. Clayton Rohner lacks any conviction at all, looking hardly old enough to be out of college let alone a seasoned detective. The climax of the film is let down by Randall Cook's unconvincing stop motion animation. Takacs shoots in Canada - like many other Canadians he attempts to give the impression the film is American-made and in one wonderful false move we have a downtown bus that is just labeled `Los Angeles'. Besides that "I, Madman" is worthy of our attention and fear but sadly underrated.

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"I mad woman like I, Madman."
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