How much do you love the 80's? I mean really, are you nostalgic about every cheesy horror movie from the 80's? Me, I like several cheesy horror flicks from the 80's, but not all of them. My memories of the 80's are pretty much "Transformers and Monster in my Pocket were cool, I still love Godzilla, and Michael Jackson and Michael J. Fox were the coolest." I was born in the 80's, but I'm more of one of those kids from the 90's. I say all of this because even I have my limits when it comes to 80's cheese, as "Neon Maniacs" proves.
Natalie (Leilani Sarelle) is the only survivor of an attack from a group of killers that are monsters in various outfits (A Samurai, a Cop, a Surgeon*, etc.) However, they aren't done yet, and they soon start coming after her and others. So, it's up to Natalie, her boyfriend Steven (Clyde Hayes) and camcorder carrying horror fan Paula (Donna Locke) to try and stop them.
In some ways, "Neon Maniacs" kind of reminded me of "Primal Rage" (the movie, not the game-no, there was not a movie version of the game), only without the lively direction, over the top gore, cool score or all around dumb fun of that movie. The score from Kendall Schmidt sounds more appropriate for an 80's sitcom-fitting considering the fact that he apparently scored several Olsen Twins movies back in the day, and few of the characters are all that interesting. Plus there isn't a whole lot going on in the gore department, so fans of splatter will be disappointed. Also, these things can only be stopped with water, yet they live under the Golden Gate Bridge? Did the writers or director think this script over before filming?
Then there's the maniacs themselves. I know that fans of the movie love the cheesy, campy approach to the events and especially the maniacs themselves, but I just couldn't get into what essentially are some kind of Village People of horror. By the time it came to the final attack, we get a battle of the bands that's so over the top 80's that I couldn't help but feel like I was watching a parody of the 80's than the real thing.
I've seen worse as far as 80's cheese is concerned, and those that crave all things hokey from that decade who are nostalgic for everything might enjoy it. I however, wasn't very impressed with this movie, as If found it too goofy and dumb for it's own good.
*That's Andrew Divoff as the Surgeon.
This marks the only directorial effort from Joseph Mangine, a cinematographer whose credits include "Alligator" and it's sequel, "The Sword and the Sorcerer", "Mother's Day", "Squirm", "I Drink Your Blood" and the "Swamp Thing" TV series.