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John A. Russo
Something disturbing is going on in San Francisco each and every night. Certain locals who are out at night, are being set upon and slain, by someone or something, to be found in the morning mutilated or parts missing. Ocassionally they are never found at all ditto the parts that go missing. Tonight one teen is going to witness a massacre at the hands of this lethal mystery. And might be able to shed some light over it to the cops. That is if she survives the night. Written by
A group of slow-moving, inter-dimensional maniacs, each with their own unique look and method of killing, emerge from under The Golden Gate Bridge at night to prey on the people of San Francisco. Having witnessed the creatures at work, high school students Natalie (Leilani Sarelle) and Steven (Clyde Hayes), aided by teenage monster movie fan Paula (Donna Locke), find themselves targeted by the maniacs and are forced to fight back with water as their only means of defence (despite the colourful killers living next to a river, plain old H20 proves to be deadly to them!).
When Neon Maniacs was first released on VHS, I thought it was junk, writer Mark Patrick Carducci failing to do his rather intriguing basic premise justice, director Joseph Mangine compounding matters with his uninspired direction, and the cast giving dreadful performances all round. Having recently given the film the benefit of a re-watch, I still think it's junk, but at least it now has the advantage of being nostalgic junk, the horrible clothes, nasty hairstyles, crappy effects, and awful pop/rock music (particularly during a terrible battle-of-the-bands scene) providing a reasonably fun time despite the overall technical shoddiness. Steve's hideous jacket; Natalie's big hair; Paula wearing her Nostromo baseball cap at a silly angle; the nasty neon tubing backdrop to Steve's band: it's delightfully dated elements like these that just about made this one worth watching.
5.5 out of 10, generously rounded up to 6 for the trip down memory lane (the 80s were worse than I remembered), a couple of gloopy melting maniacs, and Leilani Sarelle in her swimming cossie.
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