With Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini
Directed by William Lustig

Many a senseless psycho killer film erupted from the '80s. But very few had the psychological intensity and convincingly graphic visceral horror than
Maniac. 25-year old director William Lustig teamed up with character actor (and Maniac writer) Joe Spinell in his first starring role. Compiling a character from news headlines, they created a sad and disturbed man haunted by his maternally abusive past, having him venture out into the night to kill, keeping them with him by taking their scalps home. Lustig's gritty depiction of New York city is a dark and realistic place where death lurks in the shadows. Tom Savini's incredible make-up FX is pretty much one of the film's stars, no punches pulled, no self-censorship applied. Savini also has a bit part. Needless to say this bloody film had the public up in arms (and I'm sure still does in many sectors). A friend of ours' mom bought a Betamax copy in Belgium in the '80s, and we watched it many times, shocked at the graphic nature, creeped out by Spinell's performance, thrilled by the taboo fact that it was banned in South Africa, and fascinated by the execution of the FX. Regardless of its low budget, the movie has a great look and atmosphere. Maniac is an intense film not recommended for those easily shocked. This DVD release includes a cool commentary track by Lustig & Savini, a radio interview with the director and stars, TV spots and a documentary, The Joe Spinell Story, tracking the larger than life character's life, career and untimely death.

5 / A
- PB

1 2 3 4 5 6
A - B
- C

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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