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Maniac (1934)

Not Rated | | Horror | 11 September 1934 (USA)
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A former vaudevillian gifted at impersonation assists a mad scientist in reanimating corpses and soon goes mad himself.

Director:

Dwain Esper

Writer:

Hildegarde Stadie (story and continuity) (as Hildagarde Stadie)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Bill Woods Bill Woods ... Don Maxwell
Horace B. Carpenter ... Dr. Meirschultz (as Horace Carpenter)
Ted Edwards Ted Edwards ... Buckley
Phyllis Diller Phyllis Diller ... Mrs. Buckley
Thea Ramsey Thea Ramsey ... Alice Maxwell (as Theo Ramsey)
Jenny Dark Jenny Dark ... Maizie
Marvelle Andre Marvelle Andre ... Marvel (as Marvel Andre)
Celia McCann Celia McCann ... Jo
John P. Wade John P. Wade ... Embalmer Mike (as J.P. Wade)
Marian Constance Blackton Marian Constance Blackton ... Neighbor (as Marion Blackton)
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Storyline

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 J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Truth About Love Fearlessly Told See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sex Maniac See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Roadshow Attractions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marian Constance Blackton is sometimes reported, incorrectly, as appearing in male drag as the neighbor who catches and breeds cats. She plays a female neighbor who is questioned by the detective. See more »

Goofs

When Buckley grabs the sleepwalking Maria Altura, the boom microphone pole's shadow is visible on the wall, to the right of the scene. See more »

Quotes

Blonde: Hay, Mazie! We know you're hard boiled. You don't have to stay in the water thirty minutes to prove it.
Mazie: Oh, lemme alone. I may not be decent, but I'm sure gonna be clean!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Sexual Revolution (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Thea Ramsey
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User Reviews

You haven't seen it all
1 December 2005 | by TonyDoodSee all my reviews

The longer I live the more surprising things I see. Here's a movie from the '30's that has bare boobs, gore and a shot of a man popping a cat's eye out. I don't know if it was real--the cat didn't seem to mind much so I doubt it was.

This has the feel of an Ed Wood exploitation opus--all over the place story-wise (a guy impersonates a mad doctor to promote his own mad ideas and a lot of people aren't thrilled with it, and some end up dead). It's clearly an exploitation film--it takes place in one room and plot is forsaken in favor of grisly ideas and action, deception, slutty women and over-the-top acting. Like many movies from this era it's too slow and grainy for most people to enjoy and certainly too poorly made to recommend, and the rewards are slim. I'd keep the fast-forward handy and the alcohol too--the title placards that try to legitimize the movie by suggesting it's an essay on different forms of madness is pointless and irritating, really.

The best news is that it's short and there's more action than talking--too bad more movies aren't like that these days. Oh, and there's the oddity of an actress named "Phyllis Diller" being in it, no relation to the wild-haired 60's stand-up comic, of course.


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