Maniac (1934) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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
  • An ex-vaudeville actor is the assistant to a doctor with Frankenstein aspirations. After murdering the doctor, the would-be actor finds it necessary to assume the identity of the dead physician. Edgar Allen Poe's THE BLACK CAT is written into the storyline.

    - Written by Scott Blacksher
  • Don Maxwell is a vaudevillian actor known for his impersonations, who is running from the police and has taken a job assisting a certain Dr. Meirschultz. Meirschultz believes he knows the way to resurrect the dead with a special formula he has created, and when he cannot find a corpse to experiment on, he orders Maxwell to kill himself so that he might test the serum on him instead. Rather than go through with it, Maxwell turns his gun on Meirschultz, killing him; and so that he won't arouse suspicion, Maxwell then disguises himself as the doctor and attempts to fill his role. He proceeds to meet a couple of murderously-minded women, drive one man to insanity, and eat a cat's eyeball. Sporadically placed title cards relating the symptoms of various mental illnesses help give the movie its title.

    - Written by Talia
  • A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

    - Written by J. Spurlin


The film starts with a written introduction: "FOREWORD: The brain, in and of its physical self, does not think any more than a musical instrument can give forth melody without the touch of the musicians hand...

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