Oh boy. It’s that time. Time to talk about the kind of horror films that I really love, but others argue have no redeeming value at all. Films that makes you feel like you should take a shower after watching. I’d argue that typical NPC smooth-brain thinking is what keeps people away from these movies. Maniac is one of those movies. It has that amazing, awesome feeling of pure sleaze. I love it.
It’s so violent that Stephen King complained about it in his book Danse Macabre. Not that his opinion matters much.
Maniac is a William Lustig joint. If you know that name, then you should know exactly what kind of movie you are going to get without seeing a trailer. Joe Spinell plays the titular maniac, Frank Zito, in his career best performance.
Frank is a bit of an odd fella. He lives in NYC and collects and talks to mannequins. Well, that is kind of weird but then some people collect Star Wars action figures and unfortunately we still let them out into society. The difference is Frank also likes to kill and then scalp women (who doesn’t?) and nail those scalps to his mannequin collection.
Frank had a bit of a bad childhood. Like a lot of serial killers, Frank’s Mother dearest was a whore who abused him mentally and physically. This turned him into a little bit of a woman hater. We get to follow Frank’s adventures on the streets of NYC where he meets the ladies and then makes them part of his mannequin harem.
The kills are great, and very gruesome. In one famous scene, we get the privilege of an unblinking camera lovingly watching Frank as he scalps a femoid. Not going to lie, it’s a glorious exploitation scene, and this is the one that caused poor little Stevie King to toss his cookies and whine about it in a book, so you know it did something right.
My favorite scene is Frank jumping on a car hood and point-blank shooting poor Tom Savini in the face. His entire head explodes all over the car and his girlfriend, before things go downhill from there for the girlfriend.
Frank does attempt real connections to women and even gets a few dates that don’t end with a woman having the worst haircut of their lives with a bayonet.
This is a great movie. More fun than Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but the mental issues Frank is having are just as scary and real as Henry’s. This is a very violent film for you normies out there, and you should probably skip it if you prefer Marvel goyslop instead of indie horror films.
Director Lustig had previously worked as a director of pornographic films before making Maniac. He used profits from his 1977 film Hot Honey to make this movie.
Many scenes had to be filmed guerrilla-style because the production could not afford city permits, including the shotgun sequence, which was filmed in just an hour. Savini used live ammunition for the scene, and he immediately threw the shotgun into the trunk of a waiting car driven by an assistant Luke Walter, who was a friend of Spinell, to avoid being caught by the police.
Unfortunately, there was a remake of it in 2012. Elijah Wood stars as Frank in that remake. That’s right, Frodo himself. It is truly awful and gets a 0 star rating.
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