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Maniac (1934)

Not Rated | | Horror | 11 September 1934 (USA)
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2:51 | Trailer
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:

He menaced women with weird desires! 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

A crew member's shadow can be seen on Maxwell as he stands up in the first scene. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Meirschultz: Once a ham, always a ham!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Sexual Revolution (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Not really that bad
23 May 2000 | by stuthehistoryguySee all my reviews

I am somewhat embarrassed to say this, but _Maniac_ is simply not that bad of a film. The acting is hammy, but its ineptitude doesn't even approach the Ed Wood level. This is an exploitation film, pure and simple. It was created to show insanity and scantily clad women when such things were prohibited from the mainstream. It is actually quite entertaining, especially when compared to other 1930s B-movies. The plot is certainly loopy, but not beyond following.

_Maniac_ is not a "good" film, but I would not put it anywhere near the running for worst movie of all time. That honor should be reserved for complete disasters like _Manos, The Hands of Fate_, _Robot Monster_ (which is probably the ultimate "so bad it's good" film), _Glen or Glenda_, _Big Jim McLain_, _Ninja Wars_, _The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant_, or _Dracula vs. Frankenstein_. These films were trying to be snappy entertainment and came out horribly wrong. _Maniac_ was trying to be exactly what it is.


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