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on 22 July 2013
What's the concept behind that? That a big man who was traumatized as a child since his mother was was a slut, automatically becomes a twisted maniac killer? Very american indeed!
Apart from that, what's left is some really disturbing, morbid and nightmarish moments, which effectively visualize the killer's mind, but do not add anything to this sub-genre to make it so special and worth watching, unless you really want to feel unconfortable.
Nothing compared to twisted minds in Lynch's or Argento's best films, where intimate horror is much more complex and rich.
This is like Lynch's abstract violence meeting Lucio Fulci's roughness.
Probably someone might like it
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on 5 June 2017
The item came really fast, in perfect condition.Everything is as described. The story is great - classic slasher/exploitation from early 80's,picture quality is perfect.100 % entertainment.The price is not cheap, but that's hard-to-find title so, don't hesitate - BUY IT NOW!
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Brilliant low budget film if you've seen the remake with Elijah wood and liked it then give this a go fx by Tom savinni
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on 13 August 2017
Two thumbs up!
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on 20 May 2017
It was scratched it does not play not happy at all
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on 13 August 2011
And yes,it's reg 0,Blue Underground release,along with so many classics they(and increasingly other labels)are releasing BRs and DVDs reg 0,it's worth double checking with seller as often they are given the perfuncionary reg 1(Zone A) in listing along with other import discs,but check first.Maniac is a classic,very much in tone if not content of the later,admittedly more brutal Henry:Portait Of a Serial Killer.Maniac still packs a punch though,it's grim and at points very painful to watch,although showing women getting brutally murdered then subsequently being scalped is never going to be tasteful no matter how it's represented.It's a film that still divides opinion and today's torture porn watching youngsters may be less than impressed but it is much grimmer and darker and more disturbing than today's vacuous Saw or Hostel mindless drivel that horrify by how flaccid and pointless they are,at least the Friday the 13th type of slashers are often unintentionally funny!.Joe Spinell is brilliant as the maniac killer Frank Zeto.Lot's of extras,inc a superb 50 min documentary on the late Joe Spinell,interviews with Caroline Munroe and Savini and some great reaction&news footage with feminists circa 1980 stereotypicaly marching around with"DOWN WITH THIS EVIL FILM!"placards,and 2 alternate audio commentaries(which I haven't got round to listening to yet but I'm sure they are good!)with director William Lustig(who is in both commentaries),Tom Savini and the producer and editor.The transfer,to me,looks excellent,retaining a slight grain that is in keeping with the films of that age yet looks fresh,an excellent package from Blue Underground.
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on 29 March 2016
An attempt to be clever develops into boredom
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2005
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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on 30 October 2014
REVIEWED VERSION: 2010 Blue Underground 30th Anniversary Edition US Blu-Ray (2 disc Edition)

Director: William Lustig

Cast: Joe Spinell as Frank Zito, Caroline Munro as Anna D'Antoni, Gail Lawrence as Rita, Tom Savini as
Disco Boy


Frank Zito's mother died recently in a car crash. He misses her, although she abused him as a child. Deeply disturbed, he tries to keep her from leaving him by murdering young women and scalping them. He dresses up his mannequins with their scalps and displays them all over his apartment.
He befriends a photographer (Caroline Munro) in the park one day, thinking she will make a perfect mother replica...


MANIAC is probably one of the most banned movies world-wide. Though not listed as a video nasty officially, the controversial 1980 slasher film was banned by the BBFC in 1981 and it became the first movie ever to be banned in Germany, leading to a flood of movie banning in that country. It was recently released in both countries in censored forms (the UK version is cut by roughly 1 min. and the German version is missing about 6 mins.).
Even by today's standards this movie can still be considered ultra violent and gory. The makeup effects created by Tom Savini look incredible and will disgust most people even today. This is not a FRIDAY THE 13TH kiddie slasher, this is an ultra violent adult movie. But for every serious slasher film fan this is a definite must-own (avoid the abysmal remake however!).
Joe Spinell is the title role is superb. You can actually feel sorry for the man at times despite him being a serial killer who literally butchers women, and that takes a lot of acting skill. Spinell's Maniac is probably the best psychopath on screen next to Jack Nicholson. Caroline Munro, as usual, does a great job, too, but it is Spinell who carries the movie entirely.
Director William Lustig created a masterpiece here, although not everyone will be able to watch it. He does not hold back on the graphical violence shown in great detail and sometimes in slow motion. When the maniac scalps a woman, the camera does not flinch or pan out. No, this is how a slasher movie should be, this is what we wanna see and MANIAC delivers. However, Lustig gives the maniac enough non-killing screen time to get inside his mind and explore this character fully. The directing is minimalistic, Lustig focuses on what is important. In my opinion well done!
MANIAC is a very gritty and dark movie and it does not look particularly good in high definition. But let's not forget it is a grindhouse film and it was filmed in low resolution 16 mm film with low light conditions and a super-low budget. If you already own the US or French/Italian DVD there really isn't a good reason to upgrade.


Feature running time: 88 mins. (uncut)
Rating: Unrated (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC) (cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 / 16:9
Audio: English DTS-HD 7.1, English 5.1 DX, French 2.0, Italian 2.0, German 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Thai
Extras: 2 Audio Commentaries, Interview with Caroline Munro (13:08), Interview with Tom Savini (12:11), Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway (12:13), Interview with Songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky (10:38), Theatrical Trailers, TV and Radio Spots, Maniac 2 Promo Reel (7:28), The Spinell Story (49:09), Radio Interiew with William Lustig, Joe Spinell & Caroline Munro (19:10), William Lustig on "Movie Madness" (47:15), Joe Spinell at Cannes (0:44), Joe Spinell on "The Joe Franklin Show" (13:12), Caroline Munro TV Interview (2:54), Caroline Munro TV Interview (2:54), Barf Bag Review Policy (2:10), Grindhouse Film Festival Q&A (22:19), Still Gallery, Maniac Controversy: Los Angeles Channel 7 News (2:19), Channel 11 News (1:35), NBC Tomorrow Show (3:55), Chicago Channel 2 News (2:13), Philadelphia Channel 10 News (0:29), Channel 3 News (1:13), Channel 3 News (0:51), Channel 6 News (0:54), "Newbeat" Violent Movies (12:45), Movie Violence (8:26), "Midnight Blue" Al Goldstein rants against violent movies (3:54), Al Goldstein mutilates his love doll (2:39), Gallery of Outrage
Region: region free

Picture quality: 3/5
Audio quality: 4/5
Extras: 5/5
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on 25 September 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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