Movie of the Day – Maniac

The only reason that this movie popped into my psyche was because of the recent red band trailer for remake of this very movie starring Elijah Wood.  Yes, Frodo is taking his turn as the insane serial killer in a remake of this brutal movie.  I have to admit, having gone back to rewatch Maniac from 1980, this was absolute sheer insanity.  I thought maybe I was imagining some of the scenes I remember way back when, but yeah, full on shotgun to the face.  That is just a small bit of the whole film and what to expect from Maniac.

Maniac 1a

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. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

If you haven’t seen this movie, I suggest watching it first.  The stuff that happens in that movie is just brutal in terms of the amped up gore that Tom Savini managed to bring to life.  Still to this day, the effects and gore still hold up to the point that it’s like watching again for the first time.  Maniac! features a far more devastating looking shotgun death that is rivaled next to the exploding head in Scanners.  I mean this head just looks like a neutron star collapsing on itself, plus the gore.  Then you have scenes of scalping that are cringe worthy, just gritty and bloody.  Maniac! certainly doesn’t disappoint the slasher fans out there with this array of deaths and gore.

Maniac 1b

I do remember the movie being relatively controversial, obviously due to the content and the graphic nature of the story and gore.  The story of a maniac killer eviscerating women and placing their scalps on top of mannequins is pretty fucked up.  I certainly got chills from watching the killer stalk his victims and relentlessly chased them down to their eventual death.  Every death lingered on the screen for a bit longer than it should, just letting the carnage soak in.  The manic killer going a bit more insane after each kill and the finale of the film is just bonkers.  It’s a fitting way to end this sort of slasher film I will say, but the ride that it takes you on is pretty severe with the content.

Maniac! certainly still has the punch it had back in 1980.  Watching a movie about a serial killer stalking women and carving them up will certainly make you squirm in your seat, more so because of the effects that Savini created for the movie.  That man is a master of the gore effect and his crowning achievements come from the scalping and shotgun deaths.  Joe Spinell, sorry to say, just looks the part of the killer.  Intense and conflicted, he definitely sells the role of Frank Zito with his intensity that is unmatched.  This definitely has some inklings of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, where in we get into the psyche of the killer and watch what unfolds with no restraint for the audience.

I am excited to be seeing this movie again on the big screen in April thanks to Panic Fest in KC, plus I can witness the Elijah Wood Maniac film.  Speaking of which, here is the red band trailer for the remake.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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