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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 »
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Popularity
4,896 ( 3,280)
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:

Maniac 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

Director William Lustig stated that co-writer and star Joe Spinell had to prepare for the lead villain role of New York serial killer Frank Zito by doing research on real life serial killers such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, David 'Son of Sam' Berkowitz, and others as well as he went to strange excite places to really get into the role. Also, Lustig stated that there was even a real murder of a prostitute in the same hotel (the Hotel St. James) where they were filming Joe as Frank's scene killing a prostitute around the same time and the real life killer was never caught. People dressed up fake mannequins with the victims clothes to see if they can identify them as well what the character Frank does in the movie with his victims. 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: I told you not to go out tonight, didn't I? Every time you go out, this kind of thing happens.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2008 Korean DVD includes the uncut theatrical version, running nearly 88 minutes. However, even without Korean subs, the Korean title can clearly be seen above the original title. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maniac (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Love
Written by Don Armando
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Maniacal For Sure.
29 July 2006 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

"Maniac" is one of the few horror movies that I have seen that actually got under my skin a little. It made me feel uncomfortable while I watched what was happening on screen, and very few movies have ever done that to me. The movie follows a psychotic murderer as he wanders the streets of New York City, in cheap restaurants, rundown apartment complexes, and subway stations, searching for his next victims, each of them savagely murdered.

The plot for this movie may not seem very scary, but the way the movie is crafted is genuinely grisly and really made me feel uncomfortable. Rather than going from the victim's point of view as they are slashed to pieces (like most horror movies tend to do), this movie rather focuses on the actual killer himself. We learn about the abuse that he suffered as a small child at the hands of his domineering mother, which is presumably the reason he's become a murderer, taking out his own personal revenge on other people. The one thing about this movie that was so interesting was how the audience got to enter the mind of the killer, so to speak. Joe Spinell gave an excellent performance as the maniac in this movie, he portrayed a tormented human very well. There are some very grisly murders throughout the movie, all of which are fairly gruesome. But the most disturbing aspect to the film was the sense of psychosis that the killer is experiencing.

"Maniac" is surely similar to "Psycho", which makes me wonder whether or not the writers of this film were basing the plot on the real life serial killer Ed Gein, who also grew up with an abusive mother and suffered psychological problems later on as an adult, which ultimately drove him to grave-robbing and murder. There are some striking similarities between the story of this film and Ed Gein's life.

Overall, "Maniac" is one grisly, nasty movie. It displays the psychological torment that many real-life serial killers suffer from and does a good job at it, leaving it's audience uncomfortable in their seats. And from what I have seen, not many movies do that. 7/10.


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