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Maniac (1980)

 -  Crime | Drama | Horror  -  6 March 1981 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 8,571 users  
Reviews: 170 user | 124 critic

A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in NYC, kills young women and takes their scalps as trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in photographer Anna, and end his killing spree?

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Maniac (1980)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Spinell ...
...
Abigail Clayton ...
Rita (as Gail Lawrence)
Kelly Piper ...
Nurse
Rita Montone ...
Hooker
...
Disco Boy
Hyla Marrow ...
Disco Girl
...
Beach Boy (as James Brewster)
Linda Lee Walter ...
Beach Girl
Tracie Evans ...
Street Hooker
...
Second Nurse
Carol Henry ...
Nelia Bacmeister ...
Louis Jawitz ...
Art Director
Denise Spagnuolo ...
Denise
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Storyline

Frank misses his mother, who was killed in a car accident years before. She was abusive to him, and made money selling her body, but Frank still misses her. He tries to keep her from leaving him, and reform her evil ways, by killing young women and putting their scalps on mannequins which he displays around his apartment. Photographer Anna takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he's been looking for or just another mommy wanna be? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Run from this man! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maníaco  »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1970s dark blue Buick Electra car that is driven by the killer was owned at the time by director William Lustig which was purchased from a used car lot for $200. The car was permanently damaged late in filming when a camera mount set up by the crew to film a scene with Frank and Anna in the car inadvertently damaged the stirring wheel mechanism wire which forced Lustig to get rid of the car which became impossible to steer afterwords. See more »

Goofs

When the prostitute is describing her services to Frank, she says "For 75, I'll take you around the world." But her mouth don't match what she's saying. See more »

Quotes

Frank Zito: How come all your models are women?
Anna D'Antoni: Well, it's just something I'm interested in, as a woman. In fact, this is my fourth series. It's called "Women Form". Not very original is it?
Frank Zito: Well, it's not the title that matters that much.
Anna D'Antoni: No, I guess not.
Frank Zito: Do you get to keep them all?
Anna D'Antoni: I'm hoping to sell them.
Frank Zito: I wouldn't. I'd keep them forever.
Anna D'Antoni: But why? Part of my profession is to sell photographs. It's not all for art's sake you know.
Frank Zito: I know, but why do you take pictures of women this way?
Anna D'Antoni: I like to make ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Non gettarmi la sabbia negli occhi
Written by Matteo Chiosso (as Chiosso)/Gigi Cichellero (as Cichellero)
Performed by Gino Bramieri
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Excellent make-up FX and claustrophobic atmosphere.
10 July 2002 | by (Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews

I'd first like to applaud Tom Savini for his work here; MANIAC contains some of the most realistic and unrestrained gore fx I've seen; possibly THE best up until the time of its release. Anyone who says that horror film make-up men (and women) don't deserve to be called artists is an idiot. Here you get explicitly bloody murders and scalpings, plus a show-stopper head-being-blown-off-with-shotgun murder and a man being ripped apart nightmare and it all looks pretty damn convincing to me.

Aside from the effects, director William Lustig does an OK job with color schemes (especially considering the budget) and the grimy, sleazy underbelly of New York is brilliantly exploited to give this film a truly nihilistic and seedy feel. The film itself, I thought, was scary, disturbing, intense and even suspenseful in parts (the subway sequence was especially well handled), which is how it should be. Reliable character actor Joe Spinell (from TAXI DRIVER, THE GODFATHER, etc.) also offers an effective performance as the sweaty, overweight, emotionally- scarred killer.

On the down side, a plot would have been nice and it's unforgivable to waste British actress Caroline Munro on such a poorly scripted nothing role. Her beauty, charm and smile light up the screen and could have been better harnessed to counteract the ugliness on hand. Anyway, the film at least provokes some kind of reaction from its audience. Seeing a few of my squeamish female friends appalled and horrified by the film made it well worth the watch to me!


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