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Neon Maniacs (1986) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersGet those squirt guns loaded, Freaks and Geeks! 

There are nuclear age creatures living below San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.  These psychotic dudes are fierce, too.  When not munching on oversexed teenagers, they eat pigeons and are armed to the teeth with all sorts of ancient weapons.  Twisted, slimy, and ugly, these atomic age mutants (or trolls) are all about the slice and the dice of ANY human who dares piss them off. 

And this demonic horde, dressed up like a bizarre Halloween interpretation of the Village People, have it in for the last virgin in San Fran.  They will do anything to get at her.  Even if they have to ride a Harley through the halls of the local high school, these tricky sons of bitches are in it to win it and they kill without prejudice.

"In the age of Stranger Things and its legion of merch-wearing disciples, Neon Maniacs is the Holy Bible."

Welcome to the wild and twisted territory of director Joseph Mangine’s Neon Maniacs.  Played straight and sober, this film nails the horror and the comedy as sick sounds echo through the night (as a possible warning) and teenage girls, fooling around in the park with their boyfriends, get their heads pruned off while performing oral sex.  Talk about a buzzkill. 

During the unexpected attack, the boys try to fend off the attacks from these weird-looking creatures – all dressed for the punk-themed apocalypse party of the century – with fireworks and sheer machismo, but there’s no stopping these mutant motherfuckers from ruining the night.  Hell, there’s even one that looks like a cave man!

Poor Natalie Lawrence (Leilani Sarelle from Basic Instinct, Shag, Days of Thunder).  Because on the night of these teens’ attack, it is her birthday that gets ruined.  Bummer.  With only one real friend left, Steven (Alan Hayes from The Gingerbread Man, Friday 13th: The Final Chapter), and an alarming number of adults missing from this rich virgin’s world, Natalie is in for some horrifying and fantastical nights ahead. 

These Samurai-looking mutants won’t stop stalking her.  Maybe it’s because she can really fill out a bikini.  Her days aren’t much better.  Everyone is blaming her for the missing students.  What happened that night?  Where is my brother?  No one is happy with her out of this world explanations about creatures, beheadings, and lots and lots of slime and goo and so she is sent home; expelled for being a distraction. 

But then there is Paula Peterson (Donna Locke), who is introduced with an awesome camera pan around her room, revealing her film and horror obsessions, and she’s not about to let the strange incident in the park go without an investigation.  Weird mutants under the bridge?  She’s on it!  If Natalie won’t answer her questions, then she will just have to go check it out herself.  And what she finds absolutely blows her mind.  The creatures, the goo, the weapons; all of it is real.

Neon Maniacs (1986) - Blu-ray Review

Neon Maniacs has it all.  It doesn’t disappoint.  Interesting characters in a fun (and funny) supernatural story that is all sorts of freaky with its practical effects always rules.  It belongs up there with Gremlins, if you ask me.  With mutant attacks by train, bus, and by sea (okay, a swimming pool), there is simply no safe place for Natalie, Steve, and (once the creatures discover) Paula to run. 

The creatures are hot on their heels.  Something has to slow them down and what that discovery is remains a righteous scene of special effects wizardry.    

Neon Maniacs, a favorite of mine due to its sheer existence in this dull, dull world, nails everything.  It is a perfect B-movie.  I mean, come on, the fact that this movie – beginning with this narration: “when the world is ruled by violence and the soul of mankind fades, the children’s paths shall be darkened by the shadows of the neon maniacs” – was ever even made in the first place is pretty damn SOLID.  The narrative that it tells, written by Mark Patrick Carducci (Pumpkinhead), hits everything that is great about the genre (and the 1980s) right square in the nose. 

Complete with a costumed high school dance/Battle of the Bands finale, Neon Maniacs does not disappoint and Code Red’s brand new HD master from the original 35mm interpositive serves this forgotten cult classic well. 

In the age of Stranger Things and its legion of merch-wearing disciples, Neon Maniacs is the Holy Bible. 


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Neon Maniacs (1986) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
91 mins
: Joseph Mangine
Mark Patrick Carducci
Clyde Hayes, Leilani Sarelle, Donna Locke
: Horror | sci-fi
Night falls... So do their victims!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yeah, it was creepy. Probably your mom howling out her anti-sex warning."
Theatrical Distributor:
Bedford Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 14, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 26, 2014
Synopsis: Neon Maniacs follows Natalie, a young woman whose friends go to party at a San Francisco park only to be massacred by a group of monsters each with an odd individual power like a samurai, soldier, and decapitator (it's odd this film wasn't produced by Charles Band). When she tries to report it to the police, they predictably do not believe her, this, of course, gives the monsters the ability to finish the job. Natalie ends up pairing with Steven a guy that is interested in her, and Paula a young horror fan to hunt down and stop the maniacs before they can kill Natalie and more people.


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Neon Maniacs (1986) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- April 26, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Featuring a new 2K scan from the Interpositive, this release from Code Red is a real shocker as the 1.78:1 HD master is detailed and looks better than ever. Some shots, due to the era of the day, are fuzzier than others but the image is reasonably well defined with crisp contrasts and solid textures. Colors are solid, with reds being a standout. Blacks are, too. Surprisingly, there's enough fine detail on display to make this seem revelatory with its neon-soaked locations. The era-ready color palette looks terrific, too. The disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono soundtrack.



  • None

Special Features:

Fans get an interview with special make-up artist Allan Apone, an isolated score, and a trailer.

  • Allan Apone Interview
  • Isolated Music Only Track
  • Original Trailer


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Neon Maniacs (1986) - Blu-ray Review