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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective shocker. But is it entertainment?
Bill Lustig coaxed a lifetime-great performance from Joe Spinell in the compelling, but thoroughly unpleasant gore-fest that is Maniac.
Whilst the blood 'n guts in a Romero or Fulcio horror is so OTT as to provide comedy value as well as shocks, the gore in Maniac feels so real (courtesy of Tom Savini in expert form) as to make the viewer feel uncomfortably like...
Published on 7 Nov 2005 by Cartimand

versus
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great DVD, 58 seconds cut
Amazon's Internet Movie Database (IMDb) statement for "Maniac" (1980), section "alternate versions": "The version released by Anchor Bay runs 88 minutes and is the complete, uncut version". This is valid for the US edition only. The UK version of "Maniac", rated "18", is cut by the BBFC by 58 seconds (look at the BBFC homepage). The head exploding scene is cut completely...
Published on 5 Nov 2003


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective shocker. But is it entertainment?, 7 Nov 2005
By 
Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Maniac [DVD] (DVD)
Bill Lustig coaxed a lifetime-great performance from Joe Spinell in the compelling, but thoroughly unpleasant gore-fest that is Maniac.
Whilst the blood 'n guts in a Romero or Fulcio horror is so OTT as to provide comedy value as well as shocks, the gore in Maniac feels so real (courtesy of Tom Savini in expert form) as to make the viewer feel uncomfortably like a guilty voyeur at the scene of something exceedingly nasty.

As an insight into a profoundly troubled mind and the shocking consequences of horrific childhood abuse (more hinted at than explained), Maniac also works pretty well. It cleverly treds the fine line between the viewer understanding what has made Frank Zito (Spinell) into the monster he became, whilst never sympathising with the appalling acts he commits.
Somewhat surprisingly for a low-budget movie in the gore-fest/video nasty category, Maniac is rather well acted. Spinell himself is scarily believable. The actress (sorry not sure of her name) in the extended toilet scene gives one of the most convincing depictions of utter terror ever seen. Whilst it is perhaps a little far fetched that anyone could fall for the dubious charms of Frank Zito, Caroline Munro plays a blinder as the beautiful, talented (if somewhat naive) photographer.
So, in my humble opinion, it is the sheer realism and honesty of Maniac that makes it work. On the occasions when it descends into more a supernatural horror style (including one scene in the cemetary ripped unashamedly from Carrie, and the final scene with the mannequins) its potency becomes diluted.
Enough quibling though. Fans of the genre will surely acknowledge Maniac as a very effective and truly disturbing horror movie.
The DVD is reasonably well-equipped. The remastered picture quality and sound are as good as you'd expect, the documentary about Spinell is fascinating and poignant, the director's commentary is insightful and amusing, and the critics' outraged reviews are hilarious.
Be warned though; you will probably feel like you need a bath after watching Maniac!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Slasher, 23 May 2011
By 
P. Lockwood (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: MANIAC..Uncut 2 disc Special Edition.. (DVD)
This review relates to the imported Region 2 edition. This edition is uncut. As slasher films go this is probably on the more depressing side. AWE have done a great job adding DTS sound and cleaned the picture up as much as possible. Avoid the UK release as it is trimmed by about 1 minute. Well worth a watch!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prepare yourself, 6 Nov 2003
This review is from: Maniac [DVD] (DVD)
WOW! this is quite a movie. incredibly graphic and violent, this film takes the serial killing genre to the limits, and does it brilliantly. Right from the opening killing you know this film isnt for the light-hearted. The murder scenes are dramatic and very well filmed in order to stir fear in the audience, which they certainly do. 3 of my friends wouldnt carry on watching after the shotgun/car scene!
The tension that is built is also excellent, In my opinion the subway scene is one of if not the best build up to a murder in any film - cliqued but brilliant none-the-less.
The murderer is characterised well. The film follows his perverse mind, confusion and turmoil in a chilling way.
Brilliant film, be warned - thick-skinned adults only.
a fiver says it will scare the living &$! outta u!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best film about serial killing, 1 July 2008
By 
Mrs. E. A. Molloy (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Maniac [1980] [DVD] (DVD)
People seem to miss the point of this film (by miles judging by the other reviews). It's a classic study of the suffering, mental self-torture and delusions that drive people to become killers.
As Frank Zito, a powerhouse performance from the late Joe Spinell is central to the plot as we see him agonise over his actions and his feelings toward his victims. His hatred of women stems for his childhood treatment at the hands of an abusive mother, so although he desires women, he turns violent the moment they challenge him.
He falls for beautiful Anna D'Antoni (Caroline Munroe), and adopts a surprisingly urbane persona to attract her, all the while continuing with his nightly 'hobbies', decorating the female mannequins in his room with the scalps of his victims (although years before Jeffrey Dahmer, this always puts me in mind of his apartment and the 'shrine' he wanted to build).
If you've ever read anything about killers like Dahmer, Peter Kurten & Dennis Nielsen, who all lived with the bodies/body parts of their victims, and wondered how they could do that - this is the film to watch.
FX guru Tom Savini has in a small role as a guy in the car with his girl, as well as handling the effects for the film (Savini literally blew his own head off, as he wielded the rifle for the gag!)
Although executive producer of many films, it's a shame Bill Lustig doesn't still direct, but at least he's making sure we all get to see great cult horror with his DVD distribution label, Blue Underground - go Bill!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Sick, 10 Oct 2007
This is a exellent film, well made , good effects and very "Twisted" script.
Not for the faint-hearted.
Once banned in the "Video-Nasty" scares of the 70/80s.
WARNING THIS IS A REGION 1 DVD it will only play on multi.region DVD, other wise you will either get nothing or a black and white picture {this needs to be seen in color}.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great DVD, 58 seconds cut, 5 Nov 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Maniac [DVD] (DVD)
Amazon's Internet Movie Database (IMDb) statement for "Maniac" (1980), section "alternate versions": "The version released by Anchor Bay runs 88 minutes and is the complete, uncut version". This is valid for the US edition only. The UK version of "Maniac", rated "18", is cut by the BBFC by 58 seconds (look at the BBFC homepage). The head exploding scene is cut completely and other gore scenes are shortened. This film has less gore, less action, and less thrill than other uncut movies like "The Evil Dead" or "Cradle of Fear". The PAL (25 frames per second) runtime is 83 min approx (1:23:20). The cinema (24 frames per second) runtime is 25/24 x 83 = 87 min approx (1:26:50).
The dual layer DVD (SSDL, DVD9, 8.4 GByte used), published by Anchor Bay UK in 2002, is excellent: widescreen presentation (1.85:1), enhanced for 16:9 displays (anamorphic widescreen); 3 languages (English, French, Italian) in Dolby Surround; audio commentary; documentation "The Joe Spinell Story" (16:9, 49 min); animated menu transitions (16:9); 7 cinema trailers (USA/F/I/D, 16:9, 14 min; German title: "Der Wahnsinnige"); 9 tv spots (4:3, 3 min); 4 radio spots (3 min); radio discussion (19 min); 2 biographies (17 pages for Joe Spinell, 24 pages for Caroline Munro); 18 film reviews; 128 pictures. There are no subtitles for foreign or hearing impaired viewers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars he's a maniac maniac that's for sure!, 25 May 2013
This review is from: MANIAC..Uncut 2 disc Special Edition.. (DVD)
Years of abuse have turned Frank Zito in a psychotic killer who scalps his victims and puts his trophies on showroom mannequins.

Maniac is, metaphorically speaking, amongst the darkest American horror movies ever made and certainly the bleakest film of the early slasher cycle. Joe Spinell gives a more nuanced performance as Frank than most of the film's many detractors have ever acknowledged and William Lustig's direction is very stylish. The emphasis is on claustrophobia and dread. Frank's attacks are brutal and graphic. The murder of a nurse in the subway stands out and is very tense.

Though coming out of the Slasher boom, Maniac in some ways seems more akin to Taxi Driver than a Halloween. It is scuzzy,down beat and filled with ugly menace, rather than being fluid, elegant and suspense driven. Reflective of a New York that also produced Driller Killer and Don't Go In The House. The relationship between Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell is often seen as unrealistic, but it tends to be forgotten that Frank is actually fairly cultured and urbane. Again, it is worth comparing Maniac with Taxi Driver. In that film Cybill Shepperd, a sophisticated political PR, is in a relationship with DeNiro's Travis Bickle, a not too bright gun fanatic who takes his dates to XXX rated movies! Munro and Spinell in fact had enough natural chemistry to work together on The Last Horror Movie a year so later. The point is that the viewer is seeing the repellent side of Frank. Munro is not.

The most celebrated or reviled, take your pick, feature of Maniac are it's very nasty and visceral gore scenes. Tom Savini pulled out all the stops and delivered make up effects that rank amongst his best work.

Interestingly, the Micheal Sembello song "Maniac" was written for this film and reworked for Flashdance.

The Double Disc version gives you the uncut film, a documentary about Spinell, interviews and a lot of language options.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy the region 1 version ...., 20 Aug 2010
This review is from: Maniac [1980] [DVD] (DVD)
It is UNCUT.

Us poor saps in the UK are missing 5 mins ...
also NO extras whatsoever!!!!

I have just finished watching this for the first time.
(Glad I went for the projector!)

and I am completly blown away!!!

I'm enjoying watching a number of films from this era at the moment and this one really stands out for me.

The gore effects are very well done (even on this UK version) -

but (and this is unusual for the genre )
I found the movie had depth...
Joe Spinell gives an outstanding performance.

It's a deffo a classic in it's own play ground and is worth a 100 toolbox murders , mutilators, dead end streets etc

Actually -I rather think this is nearer to Henry Portrait of a serial killer than the above mentioned films.
It's a charactor study.

Buy this film- but buy the Region 1 version...
the one that has 5mins extra - UNCUT- Lots of extras - and dosen't hide the killers knife on it's cover!!!

Going to order my copy right now.

GREAT FILM
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fancy shmancy, 8 July 2010
I can only imagine the full impact of sitting in the darkened cavern of The Duce circa 1980 surrounded by New York denizens of all persuasions in what must have been one nerve shredding experience as you looked to your left and then to your right, long before anyone had heard of Hannibal and the serial killer movie craze of the 1990s. Joe Spinell commits an unquestionably scuzzy portrait of psychotically disturbed masculinity, nuanced with whimpers and tears manifesting one very creepy introspective neurosis of a man disturbed; without the supernatural cheese of many other urban celluloid psychos.

The onscreen gore-soaked brutality remains the right side of marvelling style rather than what could have been revoltingly gross, thanks to FX-maestro Tom Savini, who in my opinion elevated gore into art with his work on Deranged, Martin and Dawn Of The Dead prior to Maniac.
So sit back with this definitive, beautiful tin set edition which includes Jay Chattaway's soundtrack CD, for all you true fans. So slip into this no-budget shocker of gorilla film-making. The commentary tracks with director Savini and friends are very entertaining and the whole package is bursting with interesting worthwhile content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic slasher, 25 Sep 2007
I think almost all reading this will be familiar with the story here so i won't dwell too much on it. For me this is one of the best slashers and is made all the more convincing and effective by the disturbing performance of star Joe Spinell. He is simply excellent as the disturbed Frank Zito who after years of childhood abuse has grown up into a depraved maniac who despises women. The sleazy New York locations and the overall grittiness is dark and grim and it's extremely claustrophobic throughout too. There's almost a documentary feel to proceedings as we follow Frank during his stalking and killing as well as his mad rants to himself and his mannequins in his dank apartment. Of course all will know of this being a previous banned horror and of the gory killings. With the FX by the master Tom Savini they are brutal and gory with plenty of blood flowing. Maybe too nasty and cold blooded for some viewers and also the sexual violence will get under the skin of some. Along with "Nightmares in a Damaged Brain" and "The New York Ripper" (both classics) this is probably one of the most notorious of the early 80's sleaze nasties and is a must own!
I have the limited addition Tin release which included the Jay Chatterway soundtrack of the film too. The excellent extras on all US releases include documentary and commentary.
This is a must have film to buy for hardcore horror fans. Make sure you get the US release as the UK one is still cut.
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