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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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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
...
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:

I warned you not to go out tonight See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director William Lustig, Italian horror director Dario Argento was supposed to be involved as co-producer because his wife at the time was originally offered the protagonist role but was unavailable. Also Lustig's original request for the music was to have Goblin, Argento's Italian rock metal band to the score the movie Maniac before using Jay Chattaway as a second choice. 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 ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Goin' to a Showdown
Written by Adriana Kaegi (as Kaegi)
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Maniacal For Sure.
29 July 2006 | by (New York, NY, United States) – See all my reviews

"Maniac" is one of the few horror movies that I have seen that actually got under my skin a little. It made me feel uncomfortable while I watched what was happening on screen, and very few movies have ever done that to me. The movie follows a psychotic murderer as he wanders the streets of New York City, in cheap restaurants, rundown apartment complexes, and subway stations, searching for his next victims, each of them savagely murdered.

The plot for this movie may not seem very scary, but the way the movie is crafted is genuinely grisly and really made me feel uncomfortable. Rather than going from the victim's point of view as they are slashed to pieces (like most horror movies tend to do), this movie rather focuses on the actual killer himself. We learn about the abuse that he suffered as a small child at the hands of his domineering mother, which is presumably the reason he's become a murderer, taking out his own personal revenge on other people. The one thing about this movie that was so interesting was how the audience got to enter the mind of the killer, so to speak. Joe Spinell gave an excellent performance as the maniac in this movie, he portrayed a tormented human very well. There are some very grisly murders throughout the movie, all of which are fairly gruesome. But the most disturbing aspect to the film was the sense of psychosis that the killer is experiencing.

"Maniac" is surely similar to "Psycho", which makes me wonder whether or not the writers of this film were basing the plot on the real life serial killer Ed Gein, who also grew up with an abusive mother and suffered psychological problems later on as an adult, which ultimately drove him to grave-robbing and murder. There are some striking similarities between the story of this film and Ed Gein's life.

Overall, "Maniac" is one grisly, nasty movie. It displays the psychological torment that many real-life serial killers suffer from and does a good job at it, leaving it's audience uncomfortable in their seats. And from what I have seen, not many movies do that. 7/10.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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