Neon Maniacs (1986) Poster

(1986)

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8/10
"Let Me Ruin Your Evening," The Movie Said To Me....
roddmatsui24 March 2004
As bad films go, this one's pretty enjoyable.

Anchor Bay, not long ago, released a wonderful widescreen DVD of NEON MANIACS. But you can also enjoy this on tape, because VHS copies are still floating around at used video stores. And perhaps an old VHS tape might be better for generating that 80's feeling...

This is the infamous low-budget horror flick from 1985 that boasts a gaggle of weird, oozing monsters--each with a different look and method of killing--who come out at night, ready for action. The movie takes place in San Francisco--and the monsters actually make their home under the Golden Gate Bridge (!). Sure, why not? It could happen.

The title monsters are NEVER referred to as "Neon Maniacs" by any of the characters. A narrator has a brief speech early on in the film and says something like "The children's path shall be darkened...by the SHADOWS of the...NEON MANIACS." (Yeah. Whatever.) But that's the only time you hear the term, and as a justification for the title, it's flimsy at best. AND, as noted by many, the monsters are NEVER explained in any way. At all!

Near the end of the film there is a climactic scene at a high school costume dance featuring an astounding "Battle of the 80's Bands" (one a Rick Springfield knockoff, the other a lame heavy metal group) that will have you squirming and your face contorting into various peculiar grimaces and scowls. Yow!

This is a time capsule film. You watch it to see what things looked like, what was going on twenty-odd (very odd) years ago. But please take care: What you see, you may find upsetting.

80's horror had its own very unique and pointless stamp, and this is one of the best examples of an endearingly BAD 80's horror film--just as THE BREAKFAST CLUB is one of the best examples of an endearingly good 80's teen film. That is to say, NEON MANIACS, despite how awful it is, is memorable. It gives you a strange warm happy feeling inside when you watch it. And when it's over, you think about it--chortle to yourself over it. You might even recommend it to your friends. And you know perfectly well that it's not a good movie at all! That it's one of the worst movies you've ever seen!! See it tonight! Yes, it's crap. Yes, it's fun.
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6/10
A campy puzzle that doesn't what to be solved.
lost-in-limbo19 May 2007
In San Francisco, Natalie is celebrating her birthday one night in the park with a couple of friends, when suddenly a large group of nasty looking monsters gatecrash it. She's the only survivor, and the police don't buy her story, because of what she supposedly saw and her friend's bodies have vanished. These mutants only come out at night, from their home under the Golden Gate Bridge and seek possible victims to take back with them. Now their eyes are set on Natalie, and with the help of her lovelorn friend Steven and a plucky, horror enthusiast Paula. They set out to stop these monstrous mutants.

It doesn't get anymore ultra-bizarre, gloriously tacky and super-dumb, than the film known as "Neon Maniacs". Actually what mindlessly juicy fun, even though you'll be at a lost! Yep, it's one of those deliciously sweet and trashy horror oddities that only the 80's horror scene could possibly dream up! This low-budget item doesn't want to go into any sort of reasoning, or development to what's actually happening, so you just have to go with the flow and cop the threadbare screenplay for what it is. There's some imagination behind all of this kitsch, and what they mustered up with the wicked make-up effects for these cheesy looking nocturnal mutants are vividly creative with a whole variety to look at. Hey they even got their own collectible cards (don't ask me why), which we see at the beginning. The thing is they could've done far more with the unusual idea than what we got in the end. It was quickly thought-up and easily penned by Mark Patrick Carducci, and the results end up showing the shambles. Too many plot holes to poke a stick at and it might slow up in the latter half, but the cartoonish nature brings some nicely chiselled humorous touches and wacky situations of junky entertainment. It does have that childish feel to it, but the nasty side and gruesome effects make sure that it stays far from that crowd. The handling of it on the other hand came off looking more competent than you'll expect, but director Joseph Mangine (who's more often behind the lens), execution feels cramped and overwhelmed by the simple novelty. It's sloppy, but he keeps a steady momentum and spins out some atmospheric highlights (like a dream sequence). Shadowy camera-work is reasonably positioned, with moody lighting and there's a chewy bubblegum soundtrack with the familiar eerie electronic score finding its way in. The sound performances are pretty basic, but Leilani Sarelle, Allan Hayes and an animated Donna Locke are acceptable. Also popping up as one of the ghouls is Andrew Divoff, which was his first film appearance.

This preposterous clunker is pretty much a low-end horror delight that lazily amuses. Remember logic has no say here, but goofiness and unpleasantness does.
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6/10
Cheesy 80s horror personified!
udar553 November 2009
See, there are these twelve Neon Maniacs who live under the Golden Gate bridge and come out at night to kill people. No reason really, they just do. Natalie (Leilani Sarelle) sees all of her partying friends offed by this gnarly group but no one will believe her because the only thing left at the scene of the crime is some neon goo. Insert Steven (Alan Hayes), a fellow high school student who has the hots for Natalie, and Paula (Donna Locke), a young horror obsessed tomboy, to form a trio of folks who the cops won't listen to.

This NEON MANIACS madness is really something and plays with the same logic of the home movies I made when I was a 12-year-old. Sad when you realize director Joseph Mangine was in his 50s when he made this. We never get any history on the titular creatures or learn why they are so intent on tracking our leads. But we do know they melt when water gets on them (you listening M. Night?). I guess you could get away with stuff like this in the 80s if you throw some slime around, which this film does plenty of. Probably the only film in the history of cinema to have the heroes discussing ways to off the monsters and one says, "Hey, isn't the battle of the bands tonight? We can do it there!" Insert two dueling bands (new wave vs. heavy metal) duking it out while the Maniacs converge on the school. The film ends with the hope of a NEON MANIACS II and I'm still, like, totally waiting.
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10/10
Vintage 1980's Horror
Eugangus1 August 2002
`Neon Maniacs' begins interestingly enough. A narrator grimly informs the audience that, `When the world is ruled by violence, and the soul of mankind fades, the children's path shall be darkened by the shadows of the Neon Maniacs.' Wow. What a really – uh, bold statement. Can anyone tell me what on God's green earth the narrator meant by that? Was he portending some horrible apocalypse? Perhaps he was predicting the Olsen twins' rise to power? I don't know.

The film's plot has promise. A band of festively costumed, water-phobic monsters, living under the Golden Gate Bridge are traipsing around San Francisco brutally butchering horny teenagers. Two high school seniors and a grammar school special effects make-up enthusiast join forces to battle the murderous beasties. Unfortunately, writer, Mark Patrick Carducci never really develops his premise; too many questions are left unanswered. For instance, why would a cabal of creatures who are only vulnerable to water choose to reside under the Golden Gate Bridge? And how does a Hangman, a Samurai, a one-eyed meatball, a Bowman, a zombie Native American, a psychotic surgeon, a deformed knife-wielding maniac, a feral man-ape, a fallen soldier and a dead motorcyclist meet, decide to cohabitate, and form a pact to murder innocent San Franciscans? Did one of the creatures place a personal ad in a local newspaper? If so, which one placed the ad? My guess is that it was the one-eyed meatball.

Despite the mystifying plotline, the film has its good points. Alan Hayes, Leilani Sarelle and Donna Locke are likeable as our three monster busters. Director, Joseph Mangine manages to craft some memorable scenes of horror (the runaway train sequence and the attack at the dance are stand-outs). And the special effects make-up. Oh, the make-up! The monsters are appropriately grotesque and there's enough death and dismemberment to satisfy the most jaded gore hound of the household. Unless of course that gore hound happens to be into hardcore German zombie movies.
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8/10
Classic pile of filth!
Coventry23 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I don't exactly know what it is that makes this film better and more amusing than the overload of similar 80's splatter flicks but it just is! The lady who sold me the ex-rental VHS copy wholeheartedly agreed with me: "Neon Maniacs" is a classic piece of trash! Maybe it's because the screenplay is a bunch of unscrupulous and light-headed nonsense or maybe it's because you have a lot more sympathy for the characters here than it usually is the case in horror films, I don't know. Fact is that you will have a great time watching it. The Neon Maniacs are malevolent creatures (they look like hellraiser Cenobites only....goofier) who prowl at night in their San Franciscan territory, butcher teenagers and leave behind a funky green kind of mucus. The ravishing Nathalie (Sarelle - she'll later star alongside Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct) is the sole survivor of one of the maniacs' nightly attacks and now they're after her. As mentioned before, the premise of this film contains no logic at all. The existence of these Neon Maniacs is briefly linked to the downfall of humanity but, other than this, no background or origin is given. No problem, though, as there are tons of other absurd elements to enjoy. The costumes and make-up effects are great! Every Neon Maniac appears to be a costume designer's wet dream and their killing style is deliciously insane. We have axe decapitations, icky stranglings and several throats are being slit with rusty knives...Yay! whatever this movie lacks in suspense and intelligence, it makes it up in ingeniousness and black humor. The story loses some of its impact around the hour, when the tempo is constantly interfered with lousy rock 'n roll concert sequences (an often-returning problem in 80's horror). The exaggeratedly abrupt ending disappoints too, especially since the obvious sequel never got made. Nevertheless, it remains a highly recommended splatter flick! As long as you've got a sense of humor, an expert eye for female beauty and hunger for gore, you're guaranteed to LOVE this junk!
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9/10
Pretty good horror!
HumanoidOfFlesh10 November 2002
A group of creepy monsters terrorize San Francisco.Now it's up to a group of kids to stop them."Neon Maniacs" is a fun and pretty fast-paced flick that I dug quite a bit.It has plenty of violence including decapitations,an axe to the face,a guy cut in half etc.The film ends rather abruptly and it leaves the door open for a sequel,which will never happen I suppose.All in all "Neon Maniacs" is an underrated little flick that surely needs more recognition.One of the best horror movies of the 80's-a must-see for true horror buffs!
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8/10
A very long time no see!
Captain Kromm5 August 2001
It has been at least 12 years or more since I last saw Neon Maniacs. I rented it on video when it came out and really enjoyed it. Despite being low-budget, it was actually very good in the gore department. All attempts to rent it again in my area have failed - and in our small town we have 6 video stores! Maybe one day I'll get lucky. ;)
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4/10
Didn't like it - but I think horror fans should see it
While I found it ultimately disappointing, it was a nice attempt at being different. The movie had nice costumes,make up and some humor. But it was too uneven. I'm not sure the film makers truly decided what type of movie this was going to be. I disliked the music that was used for background music and I really disliked the live music scenes. The background music was largely responsible for giving the mixed messages about what type of "feel" a scene was supposed to have. i just didn't feel like the scenes that were shot, and what was put together in editing and post-production matched.

But for B-movie, Video Nasty people I think its worth one watch.
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8/10
A delightfully dopey and dreadful 80's monsters-on-the-loose horror splatter howler
Woodyanders10 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A motley bunch of garishly made-up malevolent, misshapen, murderous subhuman mutant monsters (biker, surgeon, Native American, Green Beret and other such grotesque beasties) prey upon various hapless folks in sunny, rainy sweet old San Francisco. Naive, virginal teenager Natalie Lawrence (the comely, but extremely vapid Leilani Sarelle, who went on to portray Sharon Stone's mannish possessive lesbian lover in "Basic Instinct" and married character actor Miguel Ferror, who she co-starred with in the first-rate south-of-the-border film noir thriller "The Harvest") survives a socko sanguinary park slaughter in which six of her friends are brutally butchered. Natalie teams up with handsome, but insipid hunk Steven (the bland Allan Hayes) and spunky horror movie loving adolescent misfit Paula (the perky, likable Donna Locke) to kick some serious creature keister.

This thoroughly stupid, but amusing and enjoyable five'n'ten cent "Gremlins" rip-off boasts a hefty corpse tally of 24 (!), plentiful outbursts of gory violence (a grisly gamut from disembowelment to an arrow through the neck to a throat slicing to a hanging to a decapitation to ... well, you get the basic wall-to-wall nonstop graphic bloodshed idea; this baby's anything but dull and uneventful), painfully crummy "blurt the lines and grimace" pseudo-acting from a non-star cast, many uproarious obvious lapses in logic (e.g., the horrible thingofabobbits can be killed with mere water, yet reside under the Golden Gate Bridge and live in 'Frisco, a city which isn't famous for its dry, arid weather!), righteously gruesome make-up f/x, and hopelessly inadequate direction by cinematographer Joseph ("Alligator," "Alone in the Dark") Mangine. Screenwriter Mark Patrick Carducci, who presumably wrote the senseless dead simple script in about two hours (probably with magic markers, no less), later penned the glorious "Pumpkinhead," which only goes to show that one can really get up from off the floor. Hell, this gut-bustingly asinine fright flick clinker even comes complete with plenty of cheesy rock songs and one of those oh-so-80's "it ain't over yet!" sequel set-up anti-climactic endings, but alas said follow-up never got made. Man, now isn't that just an honest shame?
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"This rain won't last forever."
Backlash0072 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
~Spoiler~

Neon Maniacs-where do I start? We've got an archer, a samurai, an indian, a doctor, a biker, a soldier, a hangman, an ape-man who reminded me of Lou Ferrigno's Hulk, and one guy who looks like the Toxic Avenger's ugly brother. They comprise the Neon Maniacs. The problem with the film is that we're given no backstory on the creatures. "Neon because they can only be seen in the dark; Maniacs because they kill at will." That's what the box reads. What I want to know is where in the hell did this motley crew come from? Why do they each have a spooky tarot card in their likeness? Also, If these monsters can only be destroyed by water, then why in the hell would they live inside the Golden Gate Bridge? Real geniuses, huh? Alas, these questions will never be answered. In fact, the problem we're presented with is never even resolved. The film is very open-ended and there is no sequel. I'm willing to forgive this I suppose because the writer went on to draft a screenplay for some little movie called Pumpkinhead. It also had some standout scenes including the first appearance of the maniacs in the park. Lots of gore here and good make-up. Neon Maniacs reminded me a lot of The Spookies in that in made no sense, but it was still enjoyable in all it's ridiculousness and fun to watch. "Neon Maniacs-just add water for edge-of-your-seat suspense and terror!"

Note for genre buffs: Andrew Divoff is credited as the Doc and it's his first movie role.
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Surreal nostalgic Maniacs
amesmonde11 July 2012
A group of teenagers in San Francisco are attacked by homicidal monsters living under the Golden Gate Bridge and set out to prove they are real.

Despite its faults, logic, editing, pace and such director Joseph Mangine's ambitious Neon Maniacs counter balances its short comings. Larry Odien, Allan A. Apone and Douglas J. White's make up and practical effects are surprisingly good and the period music score is creatively ominous. To Neon's credit Mangines creates some jump moments notably the bus scene.

Paula played by actress Donna Locke (who has disappeared off the planet) has a cute Goonie appeal. Leilani Sarelle's Natalie is a solid lead and not surprisingly went on to do bigger thing. The rest of the cast give typical 80s low budget hammy performances.

In retrospect writers Mark Patrick Carducci's ambiguous origins of the Neon Maniacs adds to the films appeal and although uneven with more style over substance it deserves it cult status if only for the 80's nostalgia, it's monsters 'cool' factor and surreal atmosphere.
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3/10
Wow.
chrisbrown64532 July 2001
I can't believe I missed renting this film before. I saw the cover for the film so many times at my local Blockbuster a long time ago and for some reason I never got the urge to rent it. I'm just glad I finally go to catch this excellent flick. It has a nice mix of Clive Barker's Nightbreed and a small mix of the classic Monster Squad film. It basically starts off with a group of monsters discovering a bunch of teens having a small party at a park. They decide to crash the party and kill every one of the teens except one, who gets saved by the last minute. The monsters are then set out to hunt down the teen survivor and not letting anything get in their way. I thought this film had a lot of cool stuff in it and I found myself actually enjoying every bit of it. The monsters themselves were very cool. Each one of them had their own special skill or talent. One would use an axe while the other would use a rope to hang people. The only problem I had with the monsters was the fact that they could be easily killed by water. I thought that was rather lame, but I guess you gotta kill them somehow.

Usually when there are some freak monsters running around in a horror film there is only a small few, but in this movie there was a small army of monsters. I was also surprised that this film actually had decent acting, considering it was from the 80s. The directing wasn't bad either. For a low-budget movie it had some good effects. What I didn't like about the film was the fact that there was no explaination as to how the monsters came about or why they kill people. It was just never explained. I'm assuming that since the way it ended and since there was no explaination that there was plans for a sequel, but I guess that never came about. I'm pretty sure it's because their distributor, Lightning Video, went out of business. I would have happily given this film a higher rating, but I didn't like how it ended. It left you hanging and thinking to yourself, what the hell? Other than that it was pretty damn good.
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6/10
80s cheesiness oozes from every frame.
BA_Harrison15 June 2011
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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8/10
Fun horror movie (may contain spoilers)
m_jordan_jones8 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film is a ton of fun to watch. Though some lame characters that I hate make the film a little worse. It's still a pretty good movie. Pretty fast paced film with some kick ass monsters. Though after the first 20 minutes of the film the pace really slows down. Original stuff deserves a much higher rating. But still the film has some faults to it. Mainly over acting which really wasn't necessary for this type of film. And I noticed how a lot of people have a problem with the missing plot. I like how a lot of the stuff wasn't explained it makes it very unique and cool. Well I recommend this film to true b movie fans. If you need a movie with a good plot and good actors look else where.
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As 80's as playing Super Nintendo with Ronald Regan
sebpopcorn9 October 2008
Do you ever hanker after a piece of disposable 80's horror? I know I do and Neon Maniacs was perfect for that. The story is that a girl sees all her friends brutally murdered by the neon maniacs and the maniacs start appearing trying to kill her. She doesn't let it interfere with getting a tan or going to the battle of the bands though.

It's hard to know what the maniacs themselves are supposed to be but possibly think Hellraiser's Cenobites but without the effects and instead with a bit of carpet stuck to their heads.

There's an 80's battle of the bands (both bands are naturally abysmal), an attractive female lead and some mild monster mayhem. What more could you ask for from an 80's horror flick? An actual ending would be nice I suppose but you can't have it all.

Definitely worth a watch though if you're in the right mood.
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10/10
Eighties Hell!
worldofsnail20 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Yep, the 80s were so cool I spent the entire decade drunk! 'Baby lied when she told me...' - 'I love the choice you made...' - The battle of the bands ROCKS man. 'We've had enough' sing the grotesque hair-metal band.

The ending ruins it for a lot of people. Many of my buddies who I forced this film upon all expressed disgust at there being no attempt at an explanation/resolution. Fair enough. Me? I don't mind.

But be honest folks - all the fuss about 'Rosebud' in Citizen Kane!!! Why do YOU think the Neon Maniacs came into being? Maybe some university somewhere will have eggheads debating in pretty much the same manner as the Welles film. :) Donna Locke was a pretty young girl who would have grown up nicely. I wonder where she is now. My investigations tell me she's out of the biz. Shame, because her acting was rather good - as was most of the cast, to be fair.

For the record: Archer is my favourite maniac!
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10/10
Neglected Gem
MikeK-711 May 1999
My dad first told about this movie a while ago. Back then I thought it sucked, but a couple a months ago I was strolling through my video store when I decided to give it another try. Well, was I surprised! Despite its low budget, its actually pretty scary, and the violence is enough to please any gore hound. Get it if you can find it seeing as how its distributor "Lightning Video" has gone out of business.
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1/10
Warrants the MST3K Touch. (spoilers)
vertigo_1410 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
'Neon Maniacs' reminds me of Rick Sloans awful 80s horror movie, 'Hobgoblins'. The former is not quite as bad, and hence never really popped up on any Worst Of Lists, but it is that kind of 1980s dubious horror in that, despite the urgency of the situation (hideous monsters who "live so that others may die"), the characters carry on like it's just any other day. And this happens right from the start in 'Neon Maniacs,' where the music and opening credits are more appropriate for a sappy drama than something where a park massacre occurs not more than five minutes into the movie.

The Neon Maniacs are these demonic creatures that look like a Mad Max rip off. Kind of post-apocalyptic, though it's not clear where they come from or whether there is any purpose for being there. Their idiosyncrasies sound like something out of 'Gremlins.' They don't like water. They only come out at night. They live under the Golden Gate Bridge. That's pretty much all anyone can tell about them.

Ditched by her oversexed friends in the park on her birthday, one teenager, Natalie, is lucky enough to narrowly survive the killing spree. Of course, the cops, who don't conduct any sort of crime scene investigation and are led by a detective who looks like a Jake and the Fat Man reject, and well, the rest of the neighborhood think that either the kids went missing or Natalie had something to with their death.

Meanwhile, the Neon Maniacs, forced to disappear into the night when the cops showed up and rescued Natalie that night, aren't about to accept a loss and call it a day, they take pride in their undefeated record! So they follow her around the streets of San Francisco, which definitely ruins at least one date, but thankfully puts a halt on a pretty cheesy school dance (yeah, they even find time to do normal teenage stuff!).

Enter the pseudo-heroic shy, fashion-victim soft-rocking boyfriend and a horror movie fan that is the only one who really investigates what is going on (Natalie spends a lot of time by the swimming pool when she's not going ga-ga for the boyfriend), and someone finally realizes that, oh yeah, there's these things and they're wreaking havoc on our city. Of course, even this is fleeting and it looked like Neon Maniacs might have been left open for a sequel. Luckily, that never happened since there were already enough bad 80s horror movies by 1986.

Regardless of the filmmakers never having explained the origin or purpose of the band of villains they call Neon Maniacs, nor even that the movie operates on the nauseatingly unoriginal plot of their teenage prey left to their own vices to figure out how to stop them. Even with these, a horror movie, even a dated one like this, can be entertaining. But when you combine it with the fact that half the time, it doesn't seem like anyone's reacting like their are psychotic weapon welding monsters running around the neighborhood, there's no reason to care about what goes on on-screen. It would've been perfect material for an MST3K episode.
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4/10
80's 'Guk'.
ElijahCSkuggs30 November 2009
There are tons of very 80's movie out there that rock. They just give off that vibrant 80s feel in a way that just makes ya smile, and make you wanna put something fluorescent on. Then there are others, like Neon Maniacs, that are so 80s and so campy, that you can actually get a headache.

I gotta admit I was pretty pumped to see this flick. On the cover you got this slimy, special-effects weirdo, that just seems to promise you this movie'll be awesome. Eh, sh!t. The flick revolves around a trio of high school kids who have encountered the Neon Maniacs, and they seem to be on the Maniacs de Neon hit-list. Simple, stupid stuff. Add in some truly horrendous 80s songs, and you got a serious letdown of a flick.

Something I should mention is if you're a fan of bad movies, there's a good chance you may enjoy this film. I usually do enjoy crap like this, but I mistakenly gave myself high expectations with the cool special effects shots on the cover. But if you know that this movie sucks before going in, and you're down with that, you should be just fine.
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excellent movie!
jasonkiller2522 August 2001
after months of trying,i finally got me a copy of the hard to find horror movie"Neon Maniacs"the movie is really cool and it shows.the special effects are also a treat.i like how the maniacs had different weapons and looked different.except for"the thing"i hated that neon maniac.archer(has a crossbow) was one of my favorite.there was some gore mostly graphic violence(heads are sliced off,arms are sliced,arrows in backs etc.)enjoy if you like monsters with different weapons.
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4/10
Boo!!! Enjoyable, but an anomalous mishandled misfire nonetheless... Warning: Spoilers
I felt greatly let down by this pitiful excuse for a movie. I wasn't under the impression it would be Shakespeare but going by the cool cover art I did think it would at least be something of a monsterfest type film along the lines of "Spookies", which is one of my all-time favourite fun horror movies. But sadly it soon turned out to be nothing but a confused tiresome mess that I found downright insulting in its plain unapologetic stupidity. Like the number one thing that bugged me about it was the most obvious thing: Where, who, and what the f**k were the Neon Maniacs!? Oh they just magically sprung from the scary iron door beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.. Pathetic! I'm not five years old, give me something to go on! You don't know if they're mutants, demons, robots, nothing! So not cool! I hated the music that'd instantly start playing whenever they appeared, it really grated on me. And some of the actors were really awful, like the main guy Steve who played a cheesy rock number near the end, he couldn't have said his lines with less feeling if he'd tried. There was just way too much wrong with it and too many gaping plot holes for me to ignore and I just couldn't enjoy it enough as a result, there was no story! And it's a shame because I really thought there were some interesting themes and the potential for something special buried deep in this hopeless picture that could've been great if the plot had been adjusted and it had been directed better. I think it could have been a classic of 80s horror instead of what it is. I liked the character of the teenage girl who was a horror movie buff not unlike young Tommy Jarvis from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. I wish they would've done the story so that the Maniacs had been monsters from horror comics that had somehow come to life and they were after the girl because it was her doing - if nothing else it would have offered a passable explanation as to their laughable fatal weakness to water! And the thing with the trading cards when the fisherman gets axed in the back made me wonder if at one point they had considered going for something of a Garbage Pail Kids idea. Yet another neat angle that is just lazily discarded.. Again, shame, there was potential! And I did like the gang of monsters, there was some good eerie moments with them. The scene where the mad doctor chloroforms the poor guy and cuts out his still beating heart is very macabre and scary, and the weird little cyclops alligator thing was so adorable! All of the makeup effects on the monsters was nice, and they each had a distinct look and personality, but you can't build a movie just on that alone, at least not without a little information for the audience to go on, and it just feels horrendously incomplete and unfinished to me, not good enough at all, they should have shelved it. Anyway that's all just my opinion, if you love it more power to ya, but I don't get you man, I don't get you at all! Utter trainwreck, in fact I'd say that if you wanna see how not to make a movie watch this monster!
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10/10
COULD I BE THE 1ST???
ferraridaytonagt20 June 2019
As I said in the Headline box, could I be the 1st person to have seen & loved NEON MANIACS? From the other reviews & comments I've seen, it almost seems so. I saw then taped this excellent classic decades ago (late 80s) off of some, long forgotten movie network that was once on some C-Band satellite which required a big dish (commonly referred to as the big ugly dishes or ''BUDS'') to receive it. I'd designed & built my 1st C-Band system, but rather than an a polar mount, I had an azimuth/elevation mount. It took more time to move from satellite to satellite, but it worked great. I only had about 2/3ds of the dish covered with screen wire, but I fired it up anyway & received my 1st perfect picture off of a Canadian ''Anik'' satellite. That long forgotten channel I 1st taped NEON MANIACS off of may have been called ''Starion''. It was up there & running before Cinemax. I can't recall if it was on Satcom F3 which had a downlink transmitting power of about 5 watts or that glorious bird hovering 22,300 miles out in the Geo-Stationary ''Clark'' belt called ''Galaxy 1'' with it's downlink power of around 9 watts. Ahh, those were the good old days of absolutely free & legal reception of ''SATELLITE TV''. But I digress. NEON MANIACS, from my 1st viewing, was great. I'm a huge fan of BAD Movies like Asylum puts out, but NEON MANIACS is far from falling into this category. It's a GREAT, GOOD movie. Back in another life, I use to get up early in the mornings on weekends & stick this gold nugget I'd recorded into the VCR to watch over & over & over etc. along with ''Night Of The Demons'', ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre'', ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre II'', ''Night Of The Living Dead'', ''Return Of The Living Dead'' & so many more ''CLASSICS''. NEON MANIACS was by far, my favorite. I may have worn that tape out. Like so many other fans of this masterpiece, I believe it deserved at least 1 sequel. If they can make a sequel for ''Ghoulies'', then why not NEON MANIACS. They drove ''Children Of The Corn'' deep into the dirt with so many sequels, it made you forget how bad the original was (and I'm a huge Linda Hamilton fan) yet all those sequels were far worse. The same could almost be said of ''Leprechaun''. Too many sequels can ruin the original. Should another die hard fan of this beauty make a sequel to NEON MANIACS today, it would have to be filmed the same way as the original, if that's even possible today. It needs the same lighting, graininess (if you call it that) & just the same overall production quality that went into the original. No HD & definitely no CGI special effects. It would have to be ''THE REVENGE OF THE NEON MANIACS'' in it's purest form. Like I said, I taped it off of some C-Band satellite transponder with a movie network on it back in the late 80s. Since it was produced in 85 or 86, I had to have caught it as soon as it uplinked to satellite for ''Cable TV'', but back when it was all there for your ''free'' viewing pleasure (minus the system cost if I worded that correctly). Then came the infamous ''VIDEOCIPHER'' which was oh so easy & fun to crack or ''chip''. Eventually & unfortunately, all that fun was taken away along with the wonderful world of analog C-Band signals to go to digital Ku-Band signals or whatever band those little pie pan dishes receive. That was the great thing about analog C-Band signals. Rain fade wasn't even an issue. If your dish was full of snow in the winter, it might sag it out of shape, but you still had a picture. Even if the dish wasn't spot on target, you still had a picture. With digital signals, it's either there or you have nothing. But I digress again. Now thanks to streaming, I've again found NEON MANIACS on Pluto TV's Cult Movie Channel & life's good again. It may be found on other streaming networks as well, but Pluto has made me happy by playing this masterpiece. NEON MANIACS TRULY IS AN HONEST TO GOODNESS CULT CLASSIC THAT IS SO GREAT, IT SHOULD BE USED TO DEFINE ''CULT CLASSICS''.
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9/10
Intentionally Unpredictable Different Kinda Horror Flick
cultfilmfreaksdotcom21 November 2018
Right when you think the low budget 1986 horror flick NEON MANIACS is about one thing, it goes in another direction. Which is good and bad: The bad is it's an awkward and uneven film, dragging at times. The good is pretty much everything else, starting with a nighttime vanful of partying high schools students, which includes a gorgeous blonde who isn't an uptight virgin like the cliché potential sole survivor...

That's because this isn't one of those body count slashers where kids randomly perish along the way. And her shallow girlfriends and jerky guy-friends wind up quickly massacred by the title monsters that resemble creations from a comic book addict's daydream, and there's a combination of nightmarish monstrosities rolled into this lethal gang including tribal warriors and mutant samurais...

Enter the film's second ingenue; although she's probably not supposed to be. Usually the young horror movie buff within a horror movie is a boy (Lance Kerwin in SALEM'S LOT, etc)... Here it's a short-haired, cute-as-a-button geek-girl named Paula played by Donna Locke, and it blows the mind she wasn't in anything else because she's absolutely brilliant here...

Even upstaging our blonde beauty Leilani Sarelle, who'd later play Sharon Stone's lesbian lover in BASIC INSTINCT and here, just for remaining alive twenty-minutes in, she's a marked woman: venomously sought after in what are the coolest scenes: From her swimming pool, all alone, to a pivotal subway station chase and nighttime bus ride with her newly acquired boyfriend, Clyde Hayes as Steven, introduced as an awkward dweeb till becoming miraculously cooler later on (after her friends, who had goaded him, are all dead)...

Not easy to predict, NEON MANIACS is a hybrid of several genres including horror, police procedural-noir and Supernatural... Like in THE WILD BUNCH, after the rudimentary mass-slaughter set-up, the story plays out as if you're reading along, and that makes the cute horror aficionado the best and most important ingredient...

Despite the way Donna Locke's Paula dresses, not only annoying but foreshadowing god-awful fashion trends in the years to come including a sideways baseball cap. But she's more than just a curious kid, investigating the creatures in the day-lit aftermath within the park at the foot of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge where they (reportedly) dwell in the bridge's tower.

When the Steven Spielberg produced/inspired J.J. Abrams' SUPER 8 came out, centering on a group of GONNIES style kids filming their own horror movie while something palpable emerges from their fictional fantasies, NEON MANIACS wasn't mentioned or even regarded, nor was Paula, who's shooting a vampire flick at the same deadly location...

And by the time the three main characters join up to destroy the eclectic monstrosities, the movie's almost done. They talk about what's about to happen and it does, albeit at a sluggish pace: Laura the movie buff, having learned, first hand, that the beasts die from simply having water poured on them (perhaps THE WIZARD OF OZ was a childhood favorite), spearheads an 11th hour plan to have all the students at the school's Halloween party show up with squirt guns, and... well...

At this point the best parts have already long played out, and they did so with enough suspense to make NEON MANIACS more thriller than horror... Yet it still fits the spooky bill as the creature-makeup looks absolutely sublime, and is most likely where most of the money went, and it shows...

But for a low budget picture directed by an otherwise legit/mainstream cinematographer, Joseph Mangine, it flows with style and precision, and, with an ambiguous ending, was obviously gnashing and thrashing for a sequel, or sequels: If anything else to give Donna Locke a few more credits. She'd have been the PHANTASM Reggie Bannister of NEON MANIACS. Only with more hair, and a lot cuter.
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6/10
Pure weirdness
BandSAboutMovies29 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Neon Maniacs is literally an unfinished film. Some of the maniacs are played by two different performers, as financial difficulties shut the movie down for three months and some actors had to be rehired. Plus, a lower budget meant that the ending of the film was scrapped, which resulting in an ending that comes out of nowhere and resolves nothing. And because of bitter feelings and bad memories, no copies of the original script exist and the people who made it either don't know or don't remember why the creatures exist and what their motivations were! Yet I found myself loving this sloppy movie.

Under the Golden Gate Bridge, in scenes obviously shot with no permit, the legions of the dead lay in wait for the night. Then, they can attack teenagers stupid enough to park their van and have sex. Only Natalie survives their initial assault, losing friends dumb enough to give head and smoke weed in the Neon Maniacs' domain.

Those Neon Maniacs look awesome yet have no connective reason to be a group. There's a surgeon (Andrew Divoff from Wishmaster!), a cop, a samurai and even one that looks like a furry cyclops dinosaur. The only thing that can stop them is water, so of course, they choose to live right next to San Francisco Bay because the 80's.

There's also Paula, a girl who is supposed to be the horror loving geek next to the supposedly gorgeous Natalie, but who outshines her in every scene, even wearing a hat that looks suspiciously like it came from the USCSS Nostromo. That said, it's hard to know whether Paula is either 14 or 22, so having a crush on her is problematic. That said, she's totally gonna end up with Tommy Jarvis when she grows up.

If you also like movies that suddenly become more about a battle of the bands than looming supernatural evil, Neon Maniacs also has you covered.

Joe Mangine directed this and while he didn't direct many films, he was the cinematographer for Alligator, Alone in the Dark and I Drink Your Blood.
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