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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:

What Are the Dangers of Desire? 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

This film is listed among The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. See more »

Goofs

Various times throughout the movie, the "corpses" are visibly breathing. See more »

Quotes

Maxwell: It was in Miersholtz' eyes when he wanted to murder me. It was in Mrs. Buckley's eyes when she wanted to murder her husband. Alice had the gleam in her eye when she wanted to find me. She'd murder me! I must get rid of her. How? Mrs. Buckley! She will help. She must help!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Best of the Worst: Ninja Movies (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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

For fans of wacko film making an absolute must see!
5 May 2006 | by horrorfilmxSee all my reviews

I remember the first time I sat down to watch CITIZEN KANE many years ago. That movie had the reputation of being perhaps the greatest American film of all time, and I was sure I was going to be disappointed. I wasn't. It's a brilliant piece of film making that I've enjoyed again and again over the years, and one of the few times I remember thinking that a much-hyped film had actually exceeded its publicity. Last night I had a similar experience: I watched Dwaine Esper's classic MANIAC. We may be talking about the other end of the cinematic scale here but my reaction was similar: here was a movie I'd read about for years which not only lived up to the hype but surpassed it. MANIAC is a work of demented genius. I can't remember seeing another film that was more assuredly the product of a man unhampered by matters of good taste or conventional film making technique. It's one of the most consistently watchable and entertaining features I've seen, with an atmosphere more reminiscent of an old underground movie that a Hollywood production. The over the top acting, ludicrous but somehow clever dialogue, and nightmarish imagery (raving madmen superimposed over footage from silent horror classics, way ahead of its time gratuitous nudity, people being shot up with hypodermics the size of harpoons, and a killer catfight between two ferocious and seemingly indestructible women) all combine into a unique and surreal viewing experience. And yet the most shocking thing about this movie is the flashes of actual talent it displays (albiet sparingly). The sets and photography are occasionally quite atmospheric, and some of the dialogue, if competently delivered, would have seemed quite clever and original, foreshadowing the "postmodern" exchanges of people like Tarantino. All in all a movie that defines by example the word "unique" and an experience not to be missed.


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