Maniac Killer (1987)
5/10
Bad. Film. Bianchi. Good!
6 July 2021
It's hard to believe that director Andrea Bianchi and his cast were actually working from a script when making Maniac Killer, such is the general slipshod nature of the movie. It bears all the hallmarks of a film made at speed with very little preparation and on the tightest budget possible.

For this bottom-of-the-barrel horror, Bianchi enlisted the dubious talents of three past-their-prime B-movie stars - Chuck Connors, Bo Svenson, and Robert Ginty - all three giving what must be amongst the worst performances of their not-exactly-illustrious careers. Connors plays biochemist Professor Roger Osborne, who is searching for the cure to all the ills of mankind. Svenson is wealthy aristocrat Count Silvano (Svenson), and Ginty is Gondrand, the crazed leader of an Inquisición style murder cult, who has designs on the Count's young wife (he can't be ALL bad though - he owns a cool KISS pinball machine that he lets his henchmen play on).

The real star of the film, however, is François Greze as local village idiot, Matthieu, who roams the countryside collecting animal specimens for use in Osborne's experiments, and who learns to talk with the help of the scientist's array of computers. Greze is hilarious, overacting wildly, his portrayal of the wild-eyed, drooling imbecile almost as memorable as that of Peter Bark in Bianchi's zombie classic Burial Ground. The film's ridiculous highlights see Matthieu trying to describe the abduction of the count's wife with the use of what looks like Photoshop 1 (he may be dumb, but he's got some serious graphics skills), and his explaining of the same to the police via charades (Lionel Blair, eat your heart out).

Other hilarious highlights include several cheesy torture scenes in which topless hookers are menaced by a fat, bald, shirtless guy, who uses pliers and a hot iron to get them to confess to being possessed by Satan, plus a couple of incredibly inept but bloody shootouts in which one of Gondrand's men outguns a gang of pimps and blasts a load of cops.

The film ends with Gondrand getting his comeuppance, stabbed in the back by one his torture victims, at which point Greze delivers the best line of the whole film: "Bad... man... dead. Good". Might get that on a t-shirt.

5/10 - it's lousy film-making, but also fairly entertaining.
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