Capture

Movie Review: In A Madman’s World Takes Us to Places No Sane Person Would Want to Go!

 

Elmer Wayne Henley is a down on his luck young dude from Texas. His family is broken (ol’ Elmer lives with his Mom for the record…probably because his Dad is the type of guy that doesn’t think twice about pulling a pistol and unloading a few rounds at his son’s back as he runs away), he’s surrounded by poverty, and his future doesn’t look all that bright and shiny. Enter small time hoodlum Dean Croll into Henley’s life…a charismatic fellow who gets our “hero” involved in all manner of thievery. Of course the illicit activity takes a turn for the darker side when Croll decides that white slavery…in particular the trade of young male teens, would be more lucrative…and Henley goes right along with the insanity. Croll then proceeds to take things even further by raping and murdering scores of young men which Henley helps lure into his clutches (due in no small part to Dean playing into his paranoia)…though Croll’s intentions for Henley are equally as demented.

Disturbing, raw, and told without a hint of glamor, In a Madman’s World is a gritty, true-life tale and it pulls zero punches as it takes the viewer along on a pitch black ride into just how a relatively normal ’70’s teen could end up being involved in a series of truly (and I mean truly) F’d up incidents. Along with the bleak, near documentary-style film-making we have some strong performances on hand that really sell the nightmarish goings-on, with Joe Grisaffi’s portrayal of the deviant yet magnetic Croll being the true stand-out (though Chris Binum as Henley is really awesome in this as well)…with this performance you can easily imagine a naive stoner looking for a father figure like Henley could easily fall victim to this monster’s machinations until he too became something darker. Also worth mentioning are the almost silent film styled vignettes that bridge the various events of the story together, and the off-beat score containing both material that sounds as if it would accompany the aforementioned silent films, as well as jangly country guitar pieces and ambient drone…this creates a nice discordant element that adds to the uneasiness of the piece. Finally as a note to all fright flick fans, this film features an appearance by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre alum Marilyn Burns in her final on screen role.

As for negatives, this is a low budget affair and with that comes a lack of ‘studio picture’ polish…in other words there’s some seems showing here and there. I felt it enhanced the overall dark realism of the flick, but some folks get a wild hair up their ass when things aren’t picture perfect, so you have been warned. Then there is the matter of the subject matter…it’s horrendous and disturbing, and will definitely not be to everyone’s taste…but to the film’s credit real murder should never be portrayed as fun or entertaining, and it certainly isn’t here.

On a surprising note, this film runs just over two hours…and in a shocking twist for those that regularly read my revoltin’ reviews…this length worked just fine for me! The story and acting were strong enough that I barely noticed the runtime that would normally have me runnin’ for the hills…

If you are fascinated with true crime, and want to see an ‘in-your-face,’ down and dirty, no holds barred depiction of just how far down the rabbit hole of depravity human beings can sink then In a Madman’s World will no doubt satisfy…as for me, I’m off to take a long, hot shower and scrub my eyeballs with a wire brush…

 

 

, , , , , , , , , ,