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Neon Maniacs - New Dimension - VHS Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 28 May 2015

AKA: Dodens arme, Kuoleman armeija, Evil Dead Warriors, Maniakoi tou diastimatos, La galeria del terror, Maniacs – Die Horrorbande, Gladiadores da Noite.

Directed by:
Joseph Mangine
Written by:
Mark Carducci
Produced by:
Christopher Arnold, Bran Arandjelovich
Cinematography by:
Oliver Wood, Joseph Mangine
Editing by:
Timothy Snell
Special Effects by:
Larry Odien, Wayne Beauchamp, Allan A Apone, Douglas White
Music by:
Murri Barber, Michael Gusick
Leilani Sarelle, Donna Locke, Clyde Hayes, Andrew Divoff, Victor Brant.
1h 30min

Distributor: New Dimension Home Video

'Twelve good reasons to be afraid of the dark' so states the cover to this New Dimension/ Guild ex-rental VHS which apes Medusa home video releases by popping on some very eye catching sleeve artwork. The back of the cover box is a vision of “Hmmm” as six of the twelve Neon Maniacs are posed to appeal to fans of Gwar and the early Misfits -- apart from Slash who looks like somebody has shoved teeth into a lump of clay!

'When the world is ruled by violence, and the soul of mankind fades, the children's paths shall be darkened by the shadows of the
Neon Maniacs' so quotes the intro.

We open onto the Golden Gate Bridge at night. A lonely fisherman is walking away. He finds an animal skull artefact with what looks like playing cards of all twelve maniacs inserted inside. A slick swinging axe, a scream, his small part is over! We then have to give thanks to Kendall Schmidt for the terrible credits music, it is purely like a bad old school soap opera.

Natalie and her van full of chums are driving around celebrating her birthday. We soon meet a horror fanatical kid, Paula, whose room is adorned with masks, a Blade Runner poster, Kinski as Nosferatu -- all things cool. The van full of 80's dickheads all pour out into a park. Drink! Music! Ball Games! Sex! Oh yes, it's that sort of gang! “Sue's crazy, she's not on the pill or anything!”

We then see sets of boots approaching, a crossbow and a noose hanging in view. Finally we see them properly as they cut off heads, hack into bodies, etcetera with semi effective rubber masks and decomposition make-up. The
Neon Maniacs are all characters of something. For instance, there's a biker, a Samurai, a caveman, a twisted head thing... For all the death noises, nobody else hears until it's too late. Natalie is the last survivor as the Neon Maniacs surround the van, until there's a flash of lights outside and they're gone. Two cops pop their heads in. “You got a problem here, miss?” The creatures and corpses are gone.

Natalie sits at the station explaining but nobody seems to believe her. “Just a prank, just a lot of jerkoff kids.” Natalie is picked up and goes home. Her folks are away, so she has a swim watched by the caveman dude from the gang of
Neon Maniacs. She falls asleep afterwards and dreams of blood rain to symbolise trauma, we figure out, since up until the dream she wasn't too bothered by the slaughter she witnessed.

Forensics find some bright green slime around the van, but nothing else. Paula receives a call, told by a friend about the six missing kids and Natalie's description of the monsters. Paula almost soaks her panties. Natalie, meanwhile is finding herself in danger from the relations of her missing friends.

Paula, a female variation of the Frog Brothers, wearing a Nostromo cap, has a little gang who busy themselves filming amateur horror flicks in their community. She keeps trying to talk to Natalie, but is constantly brushed aside. So Paula cycles to the park and manages to find some leftover slime. She's excited again! Thus investigates further, into some deep dark tunnels, then by the bridge, discovering globs of slime all over (which looks like used durex) and a mass of dead birds by huge metal doors. A cop catches her and tells her off. The actress who plays Paula seems to be a lot older than the character she's playing, so to have her wearing young teen tom boy gear and speaking in a childlike voice is rather... interesting, in a Peter Bark kind of way.

Waiting for night to fall, she heads back, discovering an empty cop car. She brandishes her video camera in time for the steel doors to open and the whole gaggle of
Neon Maniacs to emerge. Paula notices one hurt by falling into a puddle. As rain falls, the creatures retreat. Paula runs off. For some reason, the camera hasn't caught anything!

Natalie and her new 'friend' Stephen, are alone on the subway platform. Of course the maniacs arrive to stalk them around, onto the train, here and there. The couple seem rather unbothered by the whole danger they're facing. Perhaps it's because now that Natalie can see the
Neon Maniacs in proper light, she is stunned by how truly pathetic some of the masks are (but they're entertaining either way). Escaping the subways, they grab a bus. She cannot understand why they are chasing her. “Is this ever gonna end?” Stephen smiles, “Yes it'll be alright.” One maniac attacks through a window. The driver doesn't notice until its arm is severed and left smoking as they throw it out. “Damn kids,” says the driver, “it says 'no smoking'.” Ahhh, it was meant to be funny, I see. Ho Ho Ho.

One of the creatures looking like a turd head, comes for Paula but she isn't stupid, she's ready with a water pistol, a bucket of water, and a full bath -- one dissolved Neon Maniac. Finally she convinces Natalie, telling her and Stephen about the use of water, “Plain old water.”

There's a battle of the bands at the high school that night. The plan is to give everybody water pistols for the fancy dress. Cue some hammy soft ‘80s rock and long scenes of dancing. The Neon Maniacs prowl the dark school corridors taking out the caretaker and random others until they mingle with the fancy dress costumes. The Soldier one opens fire and our three heroes fight back, giving the viewer long scenes of chaos, then it's a game of cat and mouse in the classrooms until the police arrive.

The cigar chomping police chief laughs at first, but then decides to send his force, armed with water pistols to the Golden Gate Bridge, through the steel doors, into the lair of the
Neon Maniacs, hoping for some answers to this confused hokum.

This film is a wild directionless mess. It’s fun at first, but grows stale around the final chapters. There's an abrupt eyebrow raising open ending to kind of cheat the viewer too.

“That was, erm, different.” said my Horror Soulmate afterwards. Was it a failed franchise attempt? A toy market idea?
Neon Maniacs, like a low level Charles Band release. I don't think Band would have gone near it anyway -- no puppets or small people.

Neon Maniacs don't look very scary; they look and act like twats basically. With names such as Doc (played by Andrew Divoff, Wishmaster, Faust), Mohawk, Soldier, Hangman -- I mean, come on! Some are very effective, others aren't. There's a gimp (every time he appeared, my Horror Soulmate yelled: “Rape her!” for some reason??!!), a Maniac Cop lookalike, but the majority are simply lobbed together masks.



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