An American painter has an affair with a bar owner in a French village, and agrees to help murder her husband, who has escaped from a prison for the criminally insane.

Director:

Michael Carreras

Writer:

Jimmy Sangster
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kerwin Mathews ... Jeff Farrell
Nadia Gray ... Eve Beynat
Donald Houston ... Henri
Liliane Brousse ... Annette Beynat
George Pastell ... Inspector Etienne
Arnold Diamond ... Janiello
Norman Bird ... Salon
Justine Lord Justine Lord ... Grace
Jerold Wells ... Giles
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Storyline

Kerwin Matthews, playing a dissolute drifter down on his luck, Jeff Farrell, is stranded in a cheap bar in France where he falls for Annette, the proprietor's pretty stepdaughter, played by Liliane Brousse. Annette's stepmother Eve, played by Nadia Gray, gradually shifts the young man's attentions to herself, rather than her stepdaughter, and together Eve and Jeff concoct a plot to help free Eve's estranged husband from the institution in which he's been confined as a homicidal maniac these past four years after committing the so-called "Acetylene Murder", when he killed with a blowtorch the man who raped Annette. The idea is that Georges, the husband, will leave the country, but, unknown to Jeff, it's not Georges who escapes but Henri, the guard who has become Eve's lover . . . Written by Wheeler Winston Dixon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Stalks His Prey! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Houston's role is dubbed. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the picture, on the floor of the garage when the rapist is dragged out of the car, a chalk mark in the shape of a "T" is visible on the floor - commonly used by set builders or by the director to block a scene. See more »

Quotes

Paul Farrell: The only person who worries about me is me.
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Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'X' rating. All cuts were waived in 2017 when the film was granted a '12' certificate for home video. See more »

Connections

References Psycho (1960) See more »

User Reviews

 
A gialloesque Hammer noir
1 March 2008 | by melvelvit-1See all my reviews

American landscape painter Geoff Farrell (Kerwin Matthews), stranded in Europe, is attracted to Annette, a young French barmaid, but ends up falling for her seductive step-mother, Eve (Nadia Gray), instead. Four years earlier, the teen-aged Annette was raped on her way home from school and her father, Georges, institutionalized for taking an acetylene torch to her assailant. Eve soon convinces Geoff to help her husband, now a local hero, escape from the insane asylum but, once free, a frightening series of events makes it look like Georges was a homicidal maniac after all...

In the wake of PSYCHO, England's Hammer Studios made a few black and white "mini-Hitchcock" thrillers that tried to emulate the "Master of Suspense". PARANOIAC, MANIAC, and HYSTERIA all featured real or imagined madness, murder, sex, and deception -along with numerous plot twists- to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with varying degrees of success. There's a stark, creepy, noir-like quality to MANIAC and the unseen rape, torture and murder in the beginning is quite disturbing. The location shooting in the isolated region of the French Camargue is a decided asset and the compelling story, written by Jimmy Sangster, includes a number of suspenseful sequences before a surprise revelation that is near impossible to see coming. I've read complaints that this wasn't directed by Freddie Francis but Michael Carreras does just fine with the gialloesque material. Recommended.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

30 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Maniac See more »

Filming Locations:

Montfrin, Gard, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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