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Maniac (1934)

Not Rated | | Horror | 11 September 1934 (USA)
A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

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(story and continuity) (as Hildagarde Stadie)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Bill Woods ...
...
Dr. Meirschultz (as Horace Carpenter)
Ted Edwards ...
Buckley
Phyllis Diller ...
Mrs. Buckley
Thea Ramsey ...
Alice Maxwell (as Theo Ramsey)
Jenny Dark ...
Maizie
Marvelle Andre ...
Marvel (as Marvel Andre)
Celia McCann ...
Jo
John P. Wade ...
Embalmer Mike (as J.P. Wade)
Marian Constance Blackton ...
Neighbor (as Marion Blackton)
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Storyline

Don Maxwell is an ex-vaudeville ham, wanted by police, who has now found himself as the unlikely assistant to Dr. Meirschultz, a mad scientist in the business of reanimating corpses. Maxwell's gift of impersonation gets him and Meirschultz past the guards and into a morgue where they use a special serum to revive the corpse of a pretty young woman. But that's nothing. Dr. Meirschultz has a heart beating in a jar of solution and is eager to put it into a corpse that really needs it. Meirschultz gives his assistant a gun and advises him to commit suicide, so that he can put the heart in him, but Maxwell shoots and kills the scientist instead and hides the body. People will miss Meirschultz, Maxwell quickly realizes, but no one will miss his lowly assistant; and so Maxwell dons eyeglasses and a fake beard to become his onetime benefactor. The trouble is, he impersonates the mad doctor too well and goes crazy himself. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Truth About Love Fearlessly Told See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 September 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dwain Esper's Maniac  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$5,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Author and historian Bret Wood has posited that the backyard cat farm seen in the film was a real, illegal operation in somebody's backyard in a Los Angeles suburb. He also suggests that some of the sets for the film, namely the morgue, were found or rented rather than being built by the filmmakers. See more »

Goofs

When a cat's eyeball is popped out, the cat we see actually only had one eye, and a glass eye had been inserted into the empty socket before filming. It is easy to see it is a ginger cat, used as "stand-in" for Satan, the black cat. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Meirschultz: I must get her outta here. She must have oxygen!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Thea Ramsey
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User Reviews

You haven't seen it all
1 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The longer I live the more surprising things I see. Here's a movie from the '30's that has bare boobs, gore and a shot of a man popping a cat's eye out. I don't know if it was real--the cat didn't seem to mind much so I doubt it was.

This has the feel of an Ed Wood exploitation opus--all over the place story-wise (a guy impersonates a mad doctor to promote his own mad ideas and a lot of people aren't thrilled with it, and some end up dead). It's clearly an exploitation film--it takes place in one room and plot is forsaken in favor of grisly ideas and action, deception, slutty women and over-the-top acting. Like many movies from this era it's too slow and grainy for most people to enjoy and certainly too poorly made to recommend, and the rewards are slim. I'd keep the fast-forward handy and the alcohol too--the title placards that try to legitimize the movie by suggesting it's an essay on different forms of madness is pointless and irritating, really.

The best news is that it's short and there's more action than talking--too bad more movies aren't like that these days. Oh, and there's the oddity of an actress named "Phyllis Diller" being in it, no relation to the wild-haired 60's stand-up comic, of course.


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