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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:

Strange Loves Exposed 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

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 »

Goofs

When a cat's eyeball is popped out, the cat we see actually only had one eye, and a glass eye had been inserted into the empty socket before filming. It is easy to see it is a ginger cat, used as "stand-in" for Satan, the black cat. See more »

Quotes

Embalmer: Say, did you see the ?beaut? that come in today.
Other Embalmer: Did I!
Embalmer: She's the one that's got the coroner doin' the night work.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Exploitation Classics (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Thea Ramsey
See more »

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User Reviews

only fun when it's cheap
17 January 2008 | by winner55See all my reviews

All right, I admit that "Reefer Madness" had continuity one could follow; but after you lose interest in 'counter-culture' naughtiness, that movie does get a little dull quite often.

The thing I like about "Maniac" is that it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Although narrative bits and pieces are borrowed from mainstream horror films of that era, and of course from the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, they're never actually woven together in any coherent manner. Nor is there any relationship established between these and the recurrent dictionary definitions of various psychoses that appear on title cards with syrupy strings playing in the background.

And of course none of it's believable in anyway - especially the make-up when the killer 'disguises' himself as the mad scientist.

However, I will say that the pacing here is swift, the dialog hilarious, the acting overwrought to the point of pure self-parody, and, after all, folks - it's only 51 minutes.

And it only cost me $2 - one just has to do one's shopping more carefully.


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