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Maniac (1980)

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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:

Run from this man! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Maníaco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Sembello recorded a version of "Maniac" as the title track for a soundtrack for this film that was never released. While the lyrics are lurid and violent as reflections of what the movie was like, the song later caught the attention of producers who got Sembello to record a new version that matched the film they were working on. That film was Flashdance (1983) and "Maniac" became a #1 hit song on its soundtrack. 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

Rita: Don't kill me. Don't kill me. Frank, don't kill me.
Frank Zito: No, no. I'm not going to kill you. I'm just going to keep you so you won't go away ever again!
[drives a switchblade into her heart]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut, released on DVD in the US, is actually shorter. Although it contains all the graphic violence, a scene depicting Joe Spinell in a hotel room with a prostitute has been shortened. Another scene showing Joe and the photographer in a restaurant has been completely removed, but is added to the DVD as an extra. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Terror Firmer (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Goin' to a Showdown
Written by Adriana Kaegi (as Kaegi)
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Excellent make-up FX and claustrophobic atmosphere.
10 July 2002 | by capkronosSee all my reviews

I'd first like to applaud Tom Savini for his work here; MANIAC contains some of the most realistic and unrestrained gore fx I've seen; possibly THE best up until the time of its release. Anyone who says that horror film make-up men (and women) don't deserve to be called artists is an idiot. Here you get explicitly bloody murders and scalpings, plus a show-stopper head-being-blown-off-with-shotgun murder and a man being ripped apart nightmare and it all looks pretty damn convincing to me.

Aside from the effects, director William Lustig does an OK job with color schemes (especially considering the budget) and the grimy, sleazy underbelly of New York is brilliantly exploited to give this film a truly nihilistic and seedy feel. The film itself, I thought, was scary, disturbing, intense and even suspenseful in parts (the subway sequence was especially well handled), which is how it should be. Reliable character actor Joe Spinell (from TAXI DRIVER, THE GODFATHER, etc.) also offers an effective performance as the sweaty, overweight, emotionally- scarred killer.

On the down side, a plot would have been nice and it's unforgivable to waste British actress Caroline Munro on such a poorly scripted nothing role. Her beauty, charm and smile light up the screen and could have been better harnessed to counteract the ugliness on hand. Anyway, the film at least provokes some kind of reaction from its audience. Seeing a few of my squeamish female friends appalled and horrified by the film made it well worth the watch to me!


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