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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 9,216 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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Title: Maniac (1980)

Maniac (1980) on IMDb 6.5/10

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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:

You can lock your windows and doors...But you can't lock the madman out of your mind. 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dummy used for the exploding head scene had been used extensively by Tom Savini for effects in Dawn of the Dead (1978). After its use in this film, it was so saturated in fake blood and gore that it was decided to retire the dummy (which Tom had named "Boris"). According to Savini, the dummy was locked in the trunk of the car used in the shotgun scene and sunk in the East River. See more »

Goofs

When Frank slits the woman's throat on the beach, the knife makes no contact with the throat, even though blood spurts forth from the wound. See more »

Quotes

Frank Zito: [voice-over] This has got to stop. It's silly, and it's not getting us anywhere. You think they don't know. They do. I heard it and I know. They all know, and I don't like it anymore. But you don't listen do you. It's got to stop. Oh, you're right about them, all of them. They're all the same. I know what they're like. Just because I can't do the things you do doesn't mean I don't see it all the same. "Fancy shmansy", and what are we supposed to do? Sit and smile and say "yes miss, no miss, not ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The DUFF (2015) 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

Maniacal For Sure.
29 July 2006 | by (New York City, New York, USA) – 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.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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