Mandy Movie Poster
XYZ Films

“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Erik Estrada.”
“Erik Estrada who?”
“Erik Estrada from CHiPs.”

  • Taking place in 1983, Red is a lumberjack who lies in a secluded cabin in the woods. His artist girlfriend Many spends her days reading fantasy paperbacks. Then one day, she catches the eye of a crazed cult leader, who conjures a group of motorcycle-riding demons to kidnap her. Red, armed with a chainsaw and other weapons, stops at nothing to get her back, leaving a bloody, brutal pile of bodies in his wake.

Behold, the movie that valiantly tries to out-crazy Nicholas Cage. And it does somewhat succeed…until the third act, when Cage’s character eats some LSD and cocaine. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, Mandy is this psychological horror flick that started to get some positive buzz from the usual sources I go to for horror reviews and recommendations after being show at the usual festival circuits. Mind you I would have eventually watched Mandy because of Nicholas Cage–it was the only reason I ever watched those horrid Ghost Rider movies, after all–but then reports of this being completely weird even for a Nic Cage movie, I immediately put it in my watchin’ cue and took in the madness.

What can I say about Mandy? Well, besides that, yes, it is a completely insane movie, even despite Nic Cage. In terms of horror, one might classify Mandy as an American-style giallo film, something that relies more on style, jarring camerawork and music cues, and ultra-violence for something that’s quite visceral and madness-inducing. Again, this is all before Nic takes the LSD.

The story of Mandy was pretty straight-forward in the DVD blurb contained at the top of this review–the girlfriend of a lumberjack gets kidnapped by a hippie cult lead by a failed musician (as you do), boyfriend tries to get wife back, hippie leader gets spurned and kills girlfriend, boyfriend snaps and takes drugs and decimates the cult all the while hallucinating. It’s your typical love story, really.

So, in a nutshell, Mandy is crazy-violent, intensely insane, and will have you questioning reality by the ending shot of the movie. This is a movie that is essentially one long lucid nightmare put on film. Do I recommend watching Mandy? Yeah…but, only if you’re fully aware of what you’re in for. If you’re a fan of emerging from watching a movie with your optimism, cheery disposition and sanity fully intact and your faith in humanity unshaken, this isn’t the movie for you. For the rest of us, by all means, enjoy the madness.