The Mad


Now on DVD


Billy Zane as Jason Hunt

Jordan Madley as Steve

Maggie Castle as Amy Hunt

Shauna MacDonald as Monica Tepper

Matthew Deslippe as Johnny Sutter

Directed by John Kalangis

There are so many bad names for horror films. But check this out, ever so rarely does a title perfectly fit the film, so without further adieu I give you “The Mad.” It fits purely because if you paid any form of cash for this pile that’s just what you’ll be, mad. Real mad. I mean it should have been called “The Pissed.”

“The Mad” is brought to you by Peace Arch entertainment, the fine gents that brought us the gem of a feature “Bottom Feeder” with a fresh out of rehab Tom Sizemore. Are you still with me? You’re still here? Okay then, I might as well fill you in on dumb stuff like plot and story and useless stuff like that.

Billy Zane headlines this opus playing a “hip” doctor with a supporting cast straight out of central casting. Billy’s family consists of his girlfriend, his daughter and his daughter’s boyfriend who are all out on a road trip cruising through the south in an attempt to bond since his daughter and lady friend aren’t exactly close. So after a long day of driving and bitching at each other they find them selves at a local BBQ joint run by your average Hollywood (or in this case Canada) bland rednecks. But what’s this? These locally famous burgers being consumed by some of our cast and the whole town are tainted – tainted with mad cow disease! And what happens when you eat some mad cow disease burgers? Well, you turn into a zombie. A real annoying one. And it’s up to Billy and his kin to save the day.

With bad puns followed by killing blows to zombie’s heads the body count is high in the eighty-three minute running time leading up to the actual mad cow ground meat hurling its self at people. All the while you’re asking yourself why you haven’t changed the channel. Its only saving grace, and I’m being generous here, is the gore is decent and there is plenty of the wet stuff being thrown around courtesy of Max Macdonald who commonly handles most of Peace Arch films’ grue.

Our director Johnny Kalangis takes his first stab at horror comedy (and according to IMDB he had a bit acting part in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) and misses every single mark he was shooting for. When watching “The Mad” you can tell Mr. Kalangis thought he was spinning the zombie genre on its ass, breaking boundaries freaking you out and making you laugh. No Johnny, no. In actuality, some producer who was given the gift of sight and basic motor skills noticed zombie flicks are kinda hot right now – so, let’s make one! He called a buddy who was a director/writer told him to watch “The Return of the Living Dead” series then told him to write and direct something in the 1.5 million range. Throw in a “I just need a paycheck” leading man and boom, you get an uninspired turd like “The Mad.” Yet another crap zombie movie that is saturating the market and clearly contributing to the bad stereotypes of zombie flicks.

It’s not funny, it’s not scary and the score is almost unbearable. The music – brought to you by the band “Half Past Four” – is so goddamn cheesy it has to be heard to be believed. Another annoying stereotype afflicting “The Mad” is how bad they want you to know that this film is UNRATED as apposed to a rated version. When a film is shot with the sole intention of a straight-to-DVD release there is no ratings board, so it’s just another low-budget trick to draw gore hounds in.

While “The Mad” is labeled a horror/comedy I couldn’t help but think it was originally shot to be a straight-up horror movie…but it turned out to be such shit, they set it to a kooky soundtrack and tried to laugh off their mistakes. I walked into this with a clear head and said, “Well, the box art is decent.” And the last Canadian zombie flick I saw was pretty cool for a low budgy – “Severed,” check it out, for what they had to work with its pretty damn cool. Don’t judge a DVD by its cover.

“The Mad” has some not so special features including a deleted scene that’s, as usual, “best left deleted.” There’s also a hilarious behind-the-scenes featurette that’s not meant to be funny with our hapless director explaining how he made a movie about zombies that aren’t really zombies, except they’re like no other zombies. His self back-patting extends into one particular bit where Kalangis describes how smart it was to put a scene in in which the characters argue if what they’re facing are zombies or not. Confused? Clearly so is our director. If you’re an over the top die hard zombie fan don’t let my word stop you, but this die hard zombie fan is sick of shit zombie flicks. Now, I’m gonna watch “Evil” (aka “To Kako”) to get “The Mad” taste out of my eyes, and watch how you make a proper low budget undead flick.