• Madcow



    Released on: September 8th, 2015
    Released by: Troma
    Director: Michael Wright, Michael J. Rix
    Cast: Tanya Van Graan, Gregg Viljoen, Angus Douglas
    Year: 2010
    Purchase on Amazon

    The Movie

    The films distributed by Troma are often a crapshoot when it comes to quality control, emphasis on "crap." Sadly, this straight-to-video feature from 2010 fits more into the latter bill, in more ways than one.

    Madcow has the distinction of being the first Troma distributed film produced in South Africa, although that fact is one of the few positive points of trivia laid at the flick's feet, in what is otherwise a dreary excuse for a horror comedy. The plot is relatively simple, as Madcow follows the origin and killing habits of a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong; a homicidal mutant cow-beast on the loose at a hunting lodge in South Africa.

    There are two directors at the helm of this sinking ship-Michael J. Rix and screenwriter Michael Wright-and it's clear right from the get-go that both men were shooting for a fast, loose and irreverent sort of film, one likely indebted to Sam Raimi's latter-day Evil Dead films or, more accurately, its legions of lower-browed imitators. Sadly, the jokes are usually more groan than guffaw inducing-although some chuckles do abound from the sheer ridiculousness of it all-and, worst of all, Madcow actually struggles to keep up a breezy sense of pacing, even at its brief 85 minute running time.

    The cast do their best, however, delivering dialogue with relative ease, if the occasional mumble. The performances themselves actually aren't too bad on the whole, but the script really lets most of Madcow down. What's worse is that there's so much downtime in this film; it really makes enjoying the comedic intent a struggle, despite the obvious lighthearted nature of the shoot. Lead actress Tanya Van Graan is very pretty, with some good comedic timing, while her co-stars Billy Bush, Angus Douglas and Gregg Viljoen seem equally comfortable with each other, and the film's silly premise.

    A film like Madcow should really go for the jugular: deliver some bonkers effects, gore and laughs, but Wright and Rix's film just doesn't have enough gas to make it all the way. Even the titular cow looks more than a bit cheap and silly. This one's a misfire.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    Troma's DVD of Madcow looks nice enough, with a sharp video picture with nicely defined colors, blacks and flesh tones. The nighttime scenes looks fine, while the picture effects don't suffer from any digitization or compression issues. The audio quality could use a little improvement, however, as some of the dialogue comes across as muffled and difficult to understand. It's unclear as to whether or not this is due to the film itself, the performers or the disc, but it doesn't do Madcow any favors, that's for sure.

    Extras are relatively sparse for the disc, containing a ten minute "making of" featurette which could've been expanded a bit via a commentary, cast interviews....anything, really. Hell, there's even what I assume is a typo on the back cover for a bad Troma joke referring to "Caitlyn Jenner" as "Caitlyn Gender." C'mon, guys, seriously. Other than this, there are some Troma short extras, as well as an intro by Lloyd Kaufman. It's all a bit disappointing, really.

    The Final Word

    Madcow could've, would've and should've been fun, but the only place it really belongs is out to pasture.