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Maniac (1980)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror  |  6 March 1981 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 9,288 users  
Reviews: 175 user | 123 critic

A psychopath, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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 ...
Deadbeat
Nelia Bacmeister ...
Louis Jawitz ...
Art Director
Denise Spagnuolo ...
Denise
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Storyline

Frank Zito 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 D'Antoni takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he has been looking for or just another mother wannabe? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will tear the life out of you. 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 headless corpse in the end is the Betsy Palmer corpse (Jason's mother) from Friday the 13th (1980). The helicopter shots are recycled footage from Inferno (1980). 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

[looks down at his latest victim]
Frank Zito: Now you tell me what I should do. I heard about it, I always do. I can't go out for a minute. It's impossible. Fancy girls, in their fancy dresses and lipstick, laughing and dancing. Should you stop them? I can't stop them. But you do, don't you? And they can't laugh and they can't dance anymore. You've got to stop, or they'll take you away from me. I will never, ever, let them take you away from me. You're mine now forever. And, I'm so happy.
See more »

Connections

References Deep Red (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Love
Written by Don Armando
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
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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