A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
Don Maxwell is an ex-vaudeville ham, wanted by police, who has now found himself as the unlikely assistant to Dr. Meirschultz, a mad scientist in the business of reanimating corpses. Maxwell's gift of impersonation gets him and Meirschultz past the guards and into a morgue where they use a special serum to revive the corpse of a pretty young woman. But that's nothing. Dr. Meirschultz has a heart beating in a jar of solution and is eager to put it into a corpse that really needs it. Meirschultz gives his assistant a gun and advises him to commit suicide, so that he can put the heart in him, but Maxwell shoots and kills the scientist instead and hides the body. People will miss Meirschultz, Maxwell quickly realizes, but no one will miss his lowly assistant; and so Maxwell dons eyeglasses and a fake beard to become his onetime benefactor. The trouble is, he impersonates the mad doctor too well and goes crazy himself.Written by
The film contains intertitles, a few comment on the action in the film as they were used in silent films, but the majority, five of them, comment on the then prevailing descriptions of various mental illnesses: Dementia Praecox (now called Schizophrenia), Paresis (here used to refer to the latter stages of syphilis), Paranoia (actually listed as a noun "Paranoiac"), Manic-depressive Psychoses (now usually referred to as Bipolar Disorder), and Manias. See more »
The fighting cats at the undertaker's and the dog and cat fighting on the street, have been tied together with string that can be seen. See more »
This film has no cohesive story, go figure it's an exploitation film, and as a true exploitation film it provides an abundance of spectacle. Maniac is about a......well a maniac. Throughout the film intertitles appear that define aberrant mental states (dementia, praecox, paranoia, etc..). Spectacle is furnished scenes such as a man popping a cats eye out of it's head and eating it, two women lounge about in their underwear, two women fighting with syringes!! Finally the last two scenes are nudie strip scenes, and are inserted for titillation sake only! Suicide recovery, cat chasing mouses, mad scientists, and a guy ranting "rats eat raw meat--you know, cat carcasses...so the rats eat the cats, the cats eat the rats, and I get the skins", are all part of this disjointed viewing experience everyone should see!!
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