A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

Director:

William Lustig

Writers:

C.A. Rosenberg (screenplay), Joe Spinell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Spinell ... Frank Zito
Caroline Munro ... Anna D'Antoni
Abigail Clayton Abigail Clayton ... Rita (as Gail Lawrence)
Kelly Piper ... Nurse
Rita Montone ... Hooker
Tom Savini ... Disco Boy
Hyla Marrow Hyla Marrow ... Disco Girl
James L. Brewster ... Beach Boy (as James Brewster)
Linda Lee Walter Linda Lee Walter ... Beach Girl
Tracie Evans Tracie Evans ... Street Hooker
Sharon Mitchell ... Second Nurse
Carol Henry Carol Henry ... Deadbeat
Nelia Bacmeister Nelia Bacmeister ... Carmen Zito
Louis Jawitz Louis Jawitz ... Art Director
Denise Spagnuolo Denise Spagnuolo ... Denise
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Storyline

Frank Zito misses his mother, who was killed in a car accident years before. She was abusive to him, and made money selling her body, but Frank still misses her. He tries to keep her from leaving him, and reform her evil ways, by killing young women and putting their scalps on mannequins which he displays around his apartment. Photographer Anna D'Antoni takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he has been looking for or just another mother wannabe? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Your terror is unreal because the horror is insane. It's your turn to experience the maniac. There is nowhere to run and no time to pray. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director William Lustig, Italian horror director Dario Argento was supposed to be involved as co-producer because his wife at the time was originally offered the protagonist role but was unavailable. Also Lustig's original request for the music was to have Goblin, Argento's Italian rock metal band to the score the movie Maniac before using Jay Chattaway as a second choice. See more »

Goofs

When the prostitute gets scalped, fresh blood runs down her face. However when Frank pulls off the scalp, the blood appears splotched or dried up. See more »

Quotes

Frank Zito: [voice-over] This has got to stop. It's silly, and it's not getting us anywhere. You think they don't know. They do. I heard it and I know. They all know, and I don't like it anymore. But you don't listen do you. It's got to stop. Oh, you're right about them, all of them. They're all the same. I know what they're like. Just because I can't do the things you do doesn't mean I don't see it all the same. "Fancy shmansy", and what are we supposed to do? Sit and smile and say "yes miss, no miss, not ...
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Alternate Versions

The Finnish and Swedish VHS versions is cut with 3 minutes, it's missing the throat slit in the beginning, several scenes where Joe Spinell cuts the dead womens' forehead, Disco Boy's (Tom Savini) head exploding when Spinell shoots it with a shotgun (along with blood spreading to Disco Boy's date), a knife through the body in the ladies room, and of course the final massacre where the wax dolls butcher Spinell (rips his hands, guts, and finally his head off). The cuts have been made in a substitution technique, that when the "shock" scenes start, the frame stops to a freeze-frame, and we can hear the soundtrack going on (this is that the soundtrack wouldn't have to be cut). See more »


Soundtracks

Compliment Your Leading Lady
Written by Don Armando/Coati Mundi (as Andy Hernandez)
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
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User Reviews

 
Classic slice of early 80s gore.
6 July 2006 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Co-written by, and starring Joe Spinell, 'Maniac' is a grim, bloody and horrific journey into the world of a psychotic murderer. Spinell gives a bravura performance as Frank, a deeply disturbed individual haunted by childhood memories of his mistreatment at the hands of his mother.

As a result of his lousy upbringing, Frank is now a first-class loony tune; he slaughters women (although the occasional man gets in his way and ends up dead too) and removes their scalps, taking them home to place upon the mannequins that he keeps in his apartment.

When Frank has his picture taken in a park by photographer Anna (played by the gorgeous Caroline Munro), he tracks her down and almost manages to pass for normal for a while, wining and dining the sexy snapper and being quite charming. But it's not long before the real Frank emerges, and has a go at adding Anna to his long line of victims.

The direction by William Lustig, whilst not exceptional, does the job it was supposed to do; the film never drags and there are one or two edge-of-your-seat moments and a couple of nifty scares.

'Maniac's gory death sequences, by legendary horror make-up legend Tom Savini, are real showstoppers, and include ultra-realistic scalpings, amazing exploding heads and vicious bloody stabbings. The majority of Savini's work on the film is stunning, with only the final decapitation being less than perfect.

'Maniac' is a great example of low-budget 80s splatter and will appeal to all those who enjoy their horror down and dirty with buckets of gore.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Maniac See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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