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THE MADDENING (1995) **


Mia (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) Sara has a fight with her workaholic husband (Brian Wimmer) and takes off for her sister’s house in
Florida with her annoying daughter in tow.  Along the way they meet a creepy cigar smoking gas station attendant named Roy (Burt Reynolds) who sends them on a shortcut into the swamp.  Their car breaks down and Roy gives them a ride to his house where his nutjob wife (Angie Dickinson) thinks they are her long lost daughters.  She goes Baby Jane crazy and makes Roy lock the mother and daughter up in the house and forces them to indulge in their nutzo fantasies. 

 

If you want to see a very disgruntled looking Reynolds scraping the bottom of the barrel and doing anything to pay Loni Anderson’s alimony, then you really need to check this flick out.  You can tell that the former Bandit has utter contempt for the material, but needed the money for a new toupee.  He’s fun to watch, but Dickinson is thoroughly grating.  William Hickey is pretty great though as the ghost of Burt’s dad who encourages his boy to torment, rape and kill. 

 

This flick is pretty awful but it does have some laugh out loud moments of utter hilarity like the scene where Burt straight up punches Sara in the face.  Fans of Burt will definitely wanna give this nutty flick a look-see if only to see him act completely unhinged.    


Director Danny (John’s son) Huston doesn’t have much of his old man’s cinematic know-how, but he sure can film Burt going bat shit insane.  The problem is that, yeah the flick is trashy, but it lacks the balls to be out and out depraved.  Had the movie fired on all it’s sleaze cylinders, we might have had a camp classic.  As it is, The Maddening is just another ho-hum brain dead “psychological” thriller with the only novelty being Reynolds’ over the top performance.  Huston later gave up on the directing game altogether and focused on acting, starring as the main vampire in 30 Days of Night. 

 

The film was based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman.  If it seems like an Everglades tinged version of a V.C. Andrews novel, it’s because Neiderman was the one who ghost wrote all those Flowers in the Attic sequels. 

 

Naturally, Burt gets all the best lines like “Pleasure is the only thing to live for!”

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