Filmed nearly three years before its release, this is quite a cult classic that seems to have its moments, but seems to have more of a snooze-feel to most of the film.

Natalie is a high school student who is having fun with friends at the local park one night. However, on this night, she finds herself the sole survivor of a brutal massacre at the hands of creatures who come out from under the Golden Gate Bridge. When she attempts to tell the police what had happened, they refuse to believe her. Soon enough, things don’t bode well at school as the parents and siblings of the dead teens demand to know what happened and confront Natalie time and time again.

Natalie eventually finds solace in Steven, a local musician who has been harboring a crush on her. When she finally accepts a date with her, she takes a liking to him. Natalia also finds a reliable ally in Paula, a horror movie fanatic who one night is nearly killed by one of the creatures but has discovered their weakness in the midst. At the local battle of the bands contest, the maniacs arrive and now, Natalie, Steven, and Paula are ready to face off against the Neon Maniacs in a final showdown.

This cult classic from 1986 was filmed in 1984 but was met with many production problems, including a three-month shutdown due to money running out. This led to recasting of some of the titular “Neon Maniacs” and a film that ultimately shows less of the creatures and focuses more on the character of Natalie as we see her in a major bind with no one believing her when she survives the opening massacre of the titular monsters.

Leilani Sarelle makes her film debut on the film as the troubled high school student. She plays it off really well as someone troubled and not knowing who would believe her. Who would have thought it would be someone who harbors a crush on her in the form of Allan Hayes’ Steven? Of course, it’s pretty cool that someone who has harbored feelings for someone gets the girl all while having to find a way to evade the creatures. There’s also a character who loves horror movies and it would be Donna Locke’s Paula who not only believes Natalie but upon being confronted by one of the maniacs and learning of its weakness, which brings in a sense of a “what the hell” kind of ordeal because it is one of the most simple things imaginable.

Originally, the film was meant to have 27 Neon Maniacs, but due to the budget and production woes, it would go down to 12. Some of the highlighted maniacs include Samurai, Axe, Mohawk, and Doc. Doc is of interest because the actor playing him would go on to be a horror icon of the 1990s. Andrew Divoff, who would play the Djinn in the first two (and better) installments of the Wishmaster series takes on the role of Doc and it would make sense considering he does most of his own stunts as well alongside some of the other Maniacs.

Neon Maniacs may not be the best horror film, but it gets an A for effort despite all the problems during production. It’s a middle of the road 80’s gem.


A Cimarron/Kelly Park Associates production. Director: Joseph Mangine. Producers: Christopher Arnold and Steven D. Mackler. Writers: Mark Patrick Carducci. Cinematography: Joseph Mangine and Oliver Wood. Editing: Timothy Snell.

Cast: Allan Hayes, Leilani Sarelle, Donna Locke, Victor Brandt, Marta Kober, P.R. Paul, David Muir, Jeff Tyler, Amber Austin, Andrew Divoff, Doyle McCurley, Douglas Markell, Mark Twogood, Chuck Cohen.