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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Neon Maniacs’ (1986)

4 min read
This movie is the sort of thing you'd expect from Troma Films, except Lloyd Kaufman goes for broke.  This move always seemed strangely restrained for what should essentially be splatter punk.  Don't get me wrong, it's violent and gross, and has the same fun feel as splatter punk, but it's somehow devoid of gore.


Slashers on parade

What’s better than a slasher horror?  A slasher horror with multiple slashers!  Jesus fucking Christ what a dumpster fire.  This is another beauty from my childhood years.  I believe I first saw it on USA ‘Up All Night.’  I really miss the USA channel.  Duckman, titty flicks, cheep ass horror.  Man those were the days.  They’d edit out all the good parts, but it was the only way for a little kid to get R-rated stuff back before the internet was a thing.

This movie is the sort of thing you’d expect from Troma Films, except Lloyd Kaufman goes for broke.  This move always seemed strangely restrained for what should essentially be splatter punk.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s violent and gross, and has the same fun feel as splatter punk, but it’s somehow devoid of gore.  Either it wasn’t in the budget, or the producers honestly believed they could get a prime movie rating for theaters.  I hope it was the former and not the latter, because it literally starts off with a teenage fuck fest.

Besides gore, this movie had everything.  A laughable plot that was spread on paper thin, shitty acting that was porn quality, cinematography that was like shot on an old VHS camcorder, silly costumes that were hard not to laugh at, and practical FX right out of Tromaville’s playbook.

There is NOTHING redeemable about this movie and that’s half the reason to watch it.  It goes beyond riff worthy into full blow train wreck.  Watching it certainly causes brain damage but it’s hard to look away, and downright impossible not to laugh.

Here’s the thing, I can’t even recommend this movie to Riffers, but I sorta want everyone to watch it just so people are aware of how fucking bad shit can get.  It’s not quite Troll 2 territory of “So Bad It’s Good.” To be clear, it’s just flat out bad.  But holy fuck, you just need to see this shit to believe it.


Slasher roll call!!!  There were so many costumed slashers it was hard to keep track.  The most prominent figure is this guy dressed like a Ronin Warrior.  There’s a guy dressed like a 1920 offensive caricature of a Native American.  There’s this guy who kinda looks like one of the mutant people from the new Hills Have Eyes.  There’s this weird looking fucker with a crossbow (weird is the best I can describe it).  There’s albino beast man.  There’s this reptilian cyclops thingy.  There’s a beef-cake biker (no joke).  Oh, and some kind of metal robot guy.  Here’s the worst part.  I think I’m missing a couple.  There’s just so damn many.

So!  Who are the Neon Maniacs and what are they doing under the Golden Gate Bridge?  Fucked if I know!  None of them are neon.  There’s a single moment in the movie when any of them glow and you literally never see that one again.  They can only be killed by water, which is funny, because they LIVE UNDER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE!  They only come out at night.  I’m not sure why, because they clearly don’t care if people notice them and it’s not like the sunlight hurts them.  The fucking movie starts out with some random fisherman finding what appears to be a trading card set with pictures of them.  Gotta catch ’em all I guess.

Literally nothing about this movie makes any fucking sense.

You know what’s the perfect time for a sex scene?  During a massacre.  Yup.  Fucking costumed weirdos are running about the high-school dance murdering students.  So two lead characters hide out in the science lab, and immediately start fucking.  Mind you, the whole time the third lead character is fighting for her goddamn life after these two shitheads abandoned her.  And you know what really pissed me off?  They could have ended it all right there, just by one of the main character using their fucking head and setting off the sprinkler system.  If water is the only thing that can kill them, they could have gotten them all in one sweep.

Another thing they never really explain is why they’re after the female lead.  She survives the first encounter after these freaks get scared off by rain clouds, but that doesn’t exactly explain why they spend the rest of the movie focused on her.  I mean, sure she survived and that’s got to sting a little, but they ignore opportunities to kill other people specifically to hunt her down.  They start off by just killing indiscriminately, but then all of the sudden there are whole scenes where they don’t kill anyone until they get in the way of hunting the female lead.

Why am I trying to make sense out of this garbage?  It’s just garbage after all.  Some writer was like “I’m gonna make a slasher film with dozens of themed slashers!” and just rolled with it, damn the consequences.  It’s the sort of thing a 12-year-old would write.  I’m surprised our colorful cast of murderers didn’t include a sharkman with chainsaws for hands.

I’m just going to flat out say it.  You have to see this shit show to believe it.

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