The Mad DVD Review

Written by Steve Pattee

DVD released by Genius Products

You know, they probably even have theme rooms. – MonicaMaybe we can stay in the Deliverance suite. – Jason

Directed by Johnny Kalangis
Written by Kevin Hennelly, Johnny Kalangis and Christopher Warre Smets
2007, Region 1 (NTSC), 83 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on May 22nd, 2007

Billy Zane as Jason Hunt
Maggie Castle as Amy Hunt
Shauna MacDonald as Monica Tepper
Evan Charles Flock as Blake MacNaughton
Jordan Madley as Steve
Rothaford Gray as Charlie
Ian McPhail as Arlen Sutter
Matthew Deslippe as Johnny Sutter


I've always felt that Billy Zane is one of those actors who, for whatever reason, got the shaft in Hollywood. Sure, he's had major roles in blockbusters such as Titanic and… well, Titanic, but he's also turned out memorable roles in Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Night and Tombstone. Yet, for such a charismatic actor, he now seems to be relegated to bit parts in bigger films or main roles in low-budget films, like The Mad.

In The Mad, Zane plays Jason Hunt; current doctor, former rocker. Jason is on a vacation with girlfriend Monica (Shauna MacDonald), daughter Amy (Maggie Castle – Dead Mary) and Amy's boyfriend, Blake (Evan Charles Flock). Tempers are high on this little holiday for a couple of reasons. Amy, a moody little bitch, dislikes both Monica and her father's recent '80s wardrobe and has no problem voicing her opinion. Monica dislikes Amy's attitude and has no problem telling her so. Jason doesn't like the vacation choice — a small town redneck jamboree — and barely contains his displeasure. The only person who doesn't complain is Blake, but that's only because he's trying to get in good with Jason. It is obvious this is the first time the young suitor has spent any time with his sweetie's father, and both Zane and Flock do a great job of making the interaction between the two wonderfully uncomfortable.

If this weren't building up to be the Worse Vacation Ever fast enough, the diner where the foursome stop to eat has served up some bad meat, causing just about the entire town to go crazy. (Bad meat…The Mad…mad cow disease. Get it?) Worse yet, the locals start going nuts as the group is eating, not only ruining dinner, but also the first almost civil conversation the family is having since the movie began. People trying to attack you will do that.

The acting is very solid, but Zane in particular runs the show. His Jason Hunt is completely dry and almost without emotion. When the blood and grue is slinging around, Jason is the only one that maintains his cool in a completely unbelievable way. But the character isn't maintaining his cool because he's Mr. Badass, he's doing so because it seems he's just a little clueless on how bad the situation is. And, man, Zane just nails it.

Maggie Castle as the moody Amy does a damn good job, as well. Where Zane's Jason under-reacts to everything, Castle's Amy overreacts to what's thrown at her (up until the two leave the diner where they've been stuck, and then she gets her stuff together), and the two work together well as father and daughter.

Overall, the script has a lot of good things going for it. It certainly doesn't hurt that it has such talented actors delivering its lines, but there are more than a few laugh-out-loud funny parts in The Mad. The film is, in parts, completely over-the-top, but that's okay because it doesn't try to be anything that it's not. So what if someone's decapitated head gets kicked in the room to strategically land on a shelf. That's what The Mad is all about. Ridiculousness. Sure, there were a few things I could have done without — the crawling hamburger was too "Troma" for my taste, and the old man in the motel room with the blow-up date was a bit clichéd — but both were easily overlooked.

I went into The Mad completely blind. I had not heard of it and I didn't bother reading the back cover before I threw it into the player. I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly didn't expect what I got, which was a pretty decent blood-drenched horror comedy that's well written, well acted and well paced. This is definitely a solid rental with a six-pack.

Video and Audio:

The Mad's widescreen anamorphic presentation is surprisingly good for a lower budgeted and direct-to-DVD flick. Colors look natural, blacks are deep and the image is sharp. There was one instance where the movie pixilated, but it was brief and I don't know if this was just my copy or if it's an issue. Overall, though, a clean presentation

On the flipside, its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack isn't quite as impressive. While there was nothing negative about the presentation (in the form of pops and such), the 5.1 is completely underutilized.

Special Features:

  • The Making of The Mad
  • Deleted Scene

The Making Of featurette is not worth a watch. While it's 25 minutes or so, most of that is clips from the movie with interviews with the director and some of the stars. The director comes across as extremely egotistical, and I only made it through about 12 minutes of its 25 minute running time.

The deleted scene is best deleted and skippable, as well. It's just shots of the actors' faces reacting to something and goes on entirely too long.

There are trailers for Black Christmas, Bottom Feeder, Dead Mary, Living Death, The Cradel and The Mad.



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Steve Pattee
US Editor, Admin
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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