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
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...
THE PROS & CONS
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