NEON MANIACS (1986)
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Not exactly sure what Neon Maniacs are, though, as a variety of mutant creatures that stalk about in costumes, they seem like a horror version of the Village People. There’s a cop, samurai, caveman, biker and even a Native American mixed in with some harder to identify monsters. We are also never given much of an origin or explanation to their appearance/existence, aside from some vague opening narration. All this silly and virtually plotless film tells us is that they live inside the Golden Gate bridge and leave a trail of green slime wherever they go…and can easily be killed by simple water. Which begs the question as why they live under a bridge, much less in a costal city. Flick has them appearing out of nowhere and killing a group of high school partiers with only pretty Natalie (Leilani Sarelle) escaping with her life. The rest of the film has the creatures hunting her down with a climactic…actually, anti-climactic…showdown during a school band competition…and then it just ends. Yup, that’s it.
Film directed by Joseph Mangine and written by Mark Patrick Carducci (Pumpkinhead) has no real beginning, end or even story. We never get much of an explanation as to where these freaks come from or why they choose Natalie and her friends as their first victims. The fact that it’s established early on that they can be killed with water, only weakens what little threat factor they have. And as for personality, it seems the filmmakers felt dressing them up in costumes was enough and we get no real threat development or character depth. They just appear and kill randomly while trying to track down sole survivor Natalie. It’s pretty boring and slow moving for a 90 minute flick and the kills are few and far between after the opening scene. The make-up FX are adequate but, there is very little gore to even be of interest on that level. To be honest, aside from the amusing title and lead Leilani Sarelle being filmed wearing a bathing suit quite often, there really is little point to this flick at all. There is some nice 80s nostalgia and loads of references to other movies but, that is enjoyable due to the passing of time and not any effort by the filmmakers at making something memorable.
There really is little to recommend about this odd flick except for it being hopelessly 80s. It’s not scary, it’s not funny and it has barely what could be called a story. The title is never explained nor are the title creatures given any origin, purpose or personality. What little threat these mutants have is totally eliminated by the lame plot device of having them easily dispatched with simple water. Definitely for 80s horror completests only! At least Leilani Sarelle had a large part in Basic Instinct to overshadow this on her resume, as did writer Carducci with the classic Pumpkinhead he wrote two years later.
1 and 1/2 neon maniacs.