Neon Maniacs (Joesph Mangine, 1986)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
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A gang of murderous mutant freaks live under the Golden Gate Bridge emerging at night to kill people.
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COSDS-Neon-Maniacs00005Ok I’m just gonna come out and say it: I don’t get it. I don’t understand why so many horror fans gush all over this insulting piece of crap. Allow me to recap a bit of the story for you; there is this group of freaky monster people who live beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and they come out at night and slaughter people. When they show up at a local park and butcher all the teens hanging out there save for one girl, she naturally ends up telling the police about them only to be laughed at. Discouraged, she hooks up with some guy who wants to slip her the tube steak along with some annoying girl from down the street; and together they band together to fire squirt guns at the monsters (seriously) in an attempt to take them out once and for all.
COSDS-Neon-Maniacs00009The truth of the matter is, Neon Maniacs could have been a decent film. The decade is certainly right, the premise is kind of retarded but realistically, a bunch of mutant monsters stalking and killing teens? I see sleaze potential, gore potential, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Unfortunately none of that ever comes to fruition. All this supposed sleaze and gore that people blather about is virtually nonexistent. There’s one pair of tits in the film, and they belong to one of the ugliest females that has ever soiled my retinas. Said she-thing goes down awkwardly on some desperate drunken douche in the park near the beginning of the film and that’s where the “sleaze” ends. Although once you get a look at this heinous human atrocity you’ll be thanking the filmmakers for not dredging up more of them from some dingy back alley.
COSDS-Neon-Maniacs00002The gore is also disappointingly tame; many of the kills occur off camera, and what little carnage that does remain is hindered by quick edits and ineffectiveness. It’s hard to watch this film and not think about how you could improve upon it in essentially every way. I personally don’t consider a bunch of rubber masks melting into white or green goo to be particularly “gory” or “violent”. There are maybe one or two kills that are fairly decent and if treated properly would have been satisfyingly brutal but Neon Maniacs just doesn’t cut it. Most of the action sequences are nothing more than insipid attempts to somehow shock or impress; it’s quite clear that the filmmakers were terribly impressed with the myriad of zany monsters they had created here.
COSDS-Neon-Maniacs00003The mutant monster things range from dull to absolutely ridiculous looking, with each one having its own shtick and purpose. The cyclopean alligator man in particular looks like it belongs on The Muppet Show. If Neon Maniacs didn’t have the odd kill scene or bit of sexuality I’d swear I just watched a particularly outlandish episode of Goosebumps. Not only are the creatures disappointing, but there isn’t any attempt at explaining why they exist or what the fuck they’re doing. There’s nothing more than this retarded cavalcade of uglies creeping about doing their thing; “Oh, no! It’s the noose guy!” “Agh! Not the jumping Neanderthal guy again!”. There’s no atmosphere, no real direction to the film at all. It seems to wander about aimlessly with no discernible purpose, like some kind of commercial for shitty rubber masks and squirt guns. To add insult to injury, the creatures’ weakness is water; it’s hard to make something terrifying in any way when all one has to do is spray them with water and they die horrible deaths. Who writes this shit? Also of note is this absolutely atrocious battle of the bands scene where everyone attends in costume to watch two of the most uninspired live acts ever conceived. In addition, of course the monster people show up, evidently indistinguishable from the normal people in costume. This could have been seen as an opportunity to up the carnage factor, but the film just doesn’t have the balls.
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Neon Maniacs is an overrated pile of disappointment that would best be avoided by all but the most forgiving of viewers. Expect your time to be thoroughly wasted.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: 
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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