Not Mere Trolls But… – Neon Maniacs (1986)

While it might be low budget and more than a little corny at times, Neon Maniacs  – a film about a girl who knows that evil lurks beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, is a good time to be had by those who get a chance to watch it.

Director Joseph Mangine spreads the cheese nice and thick in this picture, creating a unique creature feature with a plot that admittedly is a little thin, though it is not necessarily the story that one looks to when watching this. With monsters that run the gamut from samurai to surgeon, a hangman to a soldier and more, the film does raise some questions like why these seemingly actual monsters decided to get together and hang out under the Golden Gate Bridge of all places. Admittedly, it is out of the way but it is a strange hideout for those who want to cause as much chaos and murder as these creatures tend to do.  An even bigger question that comes along is the fact that living under the bridge means living next to the water – something they are all vulnerable to as it is soon discovered which makes one wonder what could have been going through their heads at the time when looking for a place to call their lair. Be that as it may, questions or not, plot holes or not, the movie is all sorts of enjoyable, not to mention packed with a fair bit of monster-action.

Alan Hayes, Donna Locke and Leilani Sarelle who star within do a great job with the material and endear themselves to the audience through their antics. Even better is the fact that the monsters never get the better of them even though everyone around them gets cut down in various ways. There is a good bit of horror throughout, some scenes a little bloodier than others with the monsters and the great practical effects stealing the show when they happen to be present. That being said, there is nothing that is ever truly scary though there is an ounce of tension and at times and a wee bit of suspense to keep it all moving along.

As previously mentioned, the movie is a little silly at times and more than likely this is unintentional, simply being a product of the times and what the makers of it thought might be cool or what have one. One of those times takes place during the last act of the movie where there is a battle of the bands which is slightly ridiculous given all that has taken place. The first band to take part is half-decent while the second, a group of metal wannabes are utterly terrible but one cannot help but have a good time watching everything that takes place. Factor in the moments that make the audience think back on what they just watched and how it made little sense and perhaps some of those questionable directions the film would take and it makes it something a person might pause on ever watching again but given the talent of the leads, the special effects and even the overall music and score and Neon Maniacs is a film that should go in the win column even though most might think the opposite.

3 out of 5

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