Maniac!

Maniac!

4.6 3
Director: William Lustig

Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Gail Lawrence

     
 

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Joe Spinell, who appeared in Taxi Driver, stars in this unsavory horror film as Frank Zito, a character reminiscent of an even more disturbed Travis Bickle. Frank is an embittered loser who talks to himself and his dead mother, stalks a pretty model (Caroline Munro), and spends his spare time brutally murdering women. He then scalps his victims and puts theSee more details below

Overview

Joe Spinell, who appeared in Taxi Driver, stars in this unsavory horror film as Frank Zito, a character reminiscent of an even more disturbed Travis Bickle. Frank is an embittered loser who talks to himself and his dead mother, stalks a pretty model (Caroline Munro), and spends his spare time brutally murdering women. He then scalps his victims and puts the trophies on mannequins which he takes to bed with him at night. An unpleasant film with a relentlessly downbeat tone, Maniac! features graphic, bloody special-effects makeup by cult favorite Tom Savini, who meets a gruesome end in a cameo as "Disco Boy." Highlights include a realistic scalping by Exacto knife and an exploding head. The ending takes an interesting twist as Spinell hallucinates his victims returning to life and tearing him limb from limb. Spinell and Munro reteamed in 1982 for The Last Horror Film. Adult film star Sharon Mitchell (whom director William Lustig discovered in The Violation of Claudia) appears briefly as a nurse.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Serial killers come in all shapes and sizes. Those who like 'em paunchy and whiney need look no further than director William Lustig's low-budget cult classic Maniac, with Joe Spinell in the lead role as Frank Zito. The film is straightforward, serial-killer-on-the-loose fare, following the creepy Zito from victim to victim in extended, suspense-filled sequences that reek of Hitchcock. There's plenty of mania in Maniac, too, as Frank hears voices and has extended arguments with himself (and, in another nod to Hitckcock, his dead mother). There is also a bit of violence, of course, which is quite graphic and gory thanks to slasher-makeup king Tom Savini, who also makes a cameo. Ultimately, though, Maniac is an oddball character study, and Spinell, who also wrote the script, is truly spectacular in the lead. With a bulging midriff, pockmarked face, and bad fashion sense, Spinell's Zito looks every bit the early-'80s lunatic, making the film's odd romantic subplot particularly precious. And Maniac saves its best for last, building to a superbly surreal denouement. The Anchor Bay DVD includes audio commentary from director Lustig and several production team members, a radio interview with Lustig, Spinell, and costar Caroline Munro, a Joe Spinell documentary, and theatrical trailers.
All Movie Guide - Derek Hill
Directed by William Lustig (who also made the adult film The Violation of Claudia under a pseudonym and would later go on to direct Maniac Cop (1988), among others) and starring the late great character actor Joe Spinell (who also wrote and co-produced the film), Maniac was for many people the poster child for everything that was wrong, vile, and dangerous with the horror film genre. Even fans of the genre had a hard time defending the film and it is not difficult to see why. The film's aggressive onscreen violence is notorious and still packs a sickly punch today. Outside of the Italian horror films from the late '70s and early '80s, which gave audiences a heavy dose of giallo-styled mayhem and lurid, mondo-cannibal films, very few American films have ever pushed the cinematic violence meter so thoroughly over the top as this film did. Wes Craven's seminal revenge film Last House on the Left (1972) and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 came close (even though the latter's violence was pretty much always off-screen or implied), but Maniac left them in the gutter. The film's graphic special makeup effects were created by Tom Savini, a legend in his field due to his involvement in this film as well as his earlier contributions to George A. Romero's zombie classic, Dawn of the Dead (1979). With its plethora of realistic scalpings, stabbings, shotgun blasts to the head, beheadings, and more, Maniac challenged the stamina of many a jaded horror film fiend and, for better or worse, helped spawn the bloody tide of the 1980s horror film boom.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/25/2012
UPC:
0827058704090
Original Release:
1980
Rating:
R
Source:
Blue Underground
Region Code:
0
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
21,626

Special Features

Audio commentary #1 with co-producer/director William Lustig and co-producer Andrew W. Garroni; Audio commentary #2 with co-producer/director William Lustig, special make-up effects artist Tom Savini, editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Joe Spinell's assistant Luke Walter; Anna and the Killer - interview with star Caroline Munro [HD]; The Death Dealer - interview with special make-up effects artist Tom Savini [HD]; Dark Notes - interview with composer Jay Chattaway [HD]; Maniac Men - interview with songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky [HD]; Theatrical trailers; TV Spots; Radio spots; Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 promo reel [HD]

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joe Spinell Frank Zito
Caroline Munro Ann D'Antoni
Gail Lawrence Rita
Kelly Piper Nurse
Rita Montone Hooker
Tom Savini Disco Boy
Hyla Marrow Disco Girl
James Brewster Beach Boy
Sharon Mitchell Nurse
Carol Henry Deadbeat
Frank Pesce TV Reporter
Candace Clements First Park Mother
Joan Baldwin First Model
Randy Jurgensen First Cop
William Lustig Motel Manager

Technical Credits
William Lustig Director,Producer
Jay Chattaway Score Composer
Andrew Garroni Producer
Judd Hamilton Executive Producer
Robert Lindsay Cinematographer
Lorenzo Marinelli Editor
John Packard Associate Producer
C.A. Rosenberg Screenwriter
Tom Savini Makeup Special Effects
Joe Spinell Executive Producer,Original Story,Screenwriter

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