Wednesday, March 4

Neon Maniacs (1986)


Directed by Joseph Mangine
90 Minutes / Lightning Video / Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen

A group of teenagers are menaced by merciless mutants that live in the Golden Gate Bridge. One girl is preyed upon after a failed attempt by the creatures to kill her. The other younger girl strikes up her own investigation and finds their hideout and discovers their fatal hydro-weakness. The two converge to finally stop these "neon maniacs" at their high school's annual masquerade party.

This flick is quite difficult to peg as it suffers from nearly all if the pitfalls of "non-slasher" '80s horror. Each plot thread between the two girls isn't quite fleshed out; opting instead to gloss over all minor details to barrel ahead on energy alone. There isn't one shred of backstory involving the gaggle of mutants. It has an identity crisis, never deciding either it wants to be children's horror feature or some kind of campy '80s version of Clive Barker's Nightbreed. There's even a couple impromptu music videos-within-a-film. The conclusion is rushed and completely boneheaded. Just pull the fire alarm...? Yet it ends before you know it, throws in some splattery effects in every color except crimson, and has a number of "maniacs" you could easily see having a flick all to their lonesome. Certainly not vital, but it wouldn't hurt to see once.

Film: 4.5/10
VHS Picture: 6/10
VHS Sound: 5/10

1 comment:

venoms5 said...

I caught this in a mostly empty theater back in '86. I had bought an issue of Fangoria which featured a cover story on the film. Oddly enough, some of the shots in the magazine were not in the film as well as some of the scenes described by the director such as one involving a decapitated teenager who has his head dribbled down court and shot into a basket during the conclusion by one of the maniacs!

Apparently it was a troubled production as some of the actors were replaced (at least the ape man was replaced and played by different actors) for whatever reason. I wish the Anchor Bay DVD would have at least included a commentary track.

The storyline had the potential for some exploitation greatness and the film comes close a couple times to achieving just that, but ultimately just ends up being a hokey, but fun diversion.

Like the SYNGENOR, the NEON MANIACS would only be a threat till it came a rainy day.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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