Hello and welcome to another Monster Monday. This Monday I'll be introducing you to the Monster filled 80s romp Neon Maniacs from 1986! Filled with more monsters than ... a place with a lot of monsters, Neon Maniacs is an 80s horror fan's fantasy come true.
Director: Joseph Mangine
Starring: Clyde Hayes, Leilani Sarelle, Donna Locke
Something disturbing is going on in San Francisco each and every night. Certain locals roaming around the town are being set upon and slain by an unknown force, only to be found in the morning, mutilated. Tonight, one teen is going to witness a massacre at the hands of these mysterious maniacs and be thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Can anything stop these seemingly indestructible, enigmatic maniacal entities, or will they take the town one person at a time!?
If pressed, one could find an endless number of outlandish things from 1986’s “Neon Maniacs.” From the fact that one of the primary protagonists seems to be a 27 year old woman playing a 14 year old girl, to the absurd opening theme which appears to have been stolen from a pornographic film years prior... However, the most notable of these absurdities is the fact that the mysterious group of monsters (known only as the Neon Maniacs) are destroyed not by firearms or explosives, but rather, with water. Not holy water or some kind of mythical, specialized water: regular, pure H20. Oh. And did I mention - they reside in an area located literally feet from the pacific ocean.
The whole scope of Neon Maniacs is sort of paradoxical, really. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Firstly, the film never gives any explanation as to why the Maniacs even exist in the first place. They’ve managed to get their faces on some kind of trading cards, but it’s never said what they are or how they came to be. For some reason, when they’re not out spontaneously chasing innocent victims or riding the public transportation (yes, this happens), they harbor themselves in an abandoned building beneath the Golden Gate bridge. Yes. A bridge. A bridge spanning over a gigantic body of water. Now, perhaps it’s just a matter of wanting to live life on the dangerous side, but if I were a mythical monster whose only weakness was water, I think I’d probably think twice about taking refuge in a locale literally surrounded by the stuff in almost every direction. I mean, a simple flood could mean the difference between life and death, right?
But, that being said... I love this film. As I mentioned in my discussion of Watchers, I love films containing eternal chases (a protagonist constantly being put on the run by some perceived threat), and this sort of trope shines through wonderfully in Neon Maniacs. Like many films from this era, I garnered my first exposure to it as a teen thanks to the Sci-fi channel and, after a few years, forgot about its existence. Years later, however, I rediscovered the film and, to my surprise, found it to be even more wonderful than I remember it. The music, the aura and, most importantly, the monsters, form a glorious amalgamation of 80s goodness that's difficult not to adore.