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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:

It will tear the life out of you. 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)

Gross USA:

$6,000,000, 31 December 1981
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

Joe Spinell was working in between the filming of Maniac (1980) with other movie projects, one of them being Nighthawks (1981) which began filming before production on Maniac ended, in which Spinell cut his hair short and shaved off his mustache to play a clean-cut, high-ranking New York police official for Nighthawks. In a few scenes (most of them being where Frank Zito is driving his car), Spinell is wearing a fake mustache with a long-haired wig under his cap. See more »

Goofs

The camera's shadow can be seen several times on some of the mannequins in the final scene. See more »

Quotes

Disco Boy: You wanna meet me someplace?
Disco Girl: Where?
Disco Boy: The back seat.
[flutters eyebrows]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released by Anchor Bay runs 88 minutes and is the complete, uncut version. See more »

Connections

References Hot Honey (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Non gettarmi la sabbia negli occhi
Written by Leo Chiosso/Gigi Cichellero
Performed by Gino Bramieri
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

promising concept but poorly done
12 February 2002 | by hotnoodletunaSee all my reviews

Maniac takes a path that few films dare, by allowing us to sympathize with the killer, and presenting him as the protagonist of the film. Indeed, for the first half hour, the film creates a shockingly claustrophobic scenario, in which Frank is the only real character in the film, and the others are all introduced to serve merely as his victims. This structure makes for some powerful viewing, because Frank's worldview is so claustrophobic and stifling that we almost literally feel his isolation weighing down upon us.

The film loses its power when it creates a semi-traditonal love interest for Frank. Inevitably, this opens up the film, by allowing us to assume a perspective other than Frank's at various times throughout the remainder of the film. Though this does come as a sort of emotional relief for the viewer, it also diminishes most of the tension that the stellar first half hour so completely creates.

Were it not for this cop-out, Maniac would be one of those rare films that, while being nearly unwatchably upsetting, is also a brilliantly moving film. Indeed, many of the camera angles used, as well as Spinell's terrific performance lend this film more credibility than it deserves.

In summary, the film starts out as emotionally raw and brutal as "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", or "Peeping Tom", but about half way through the film it relents and becomes more generic slasher fare. All serious analysis aside, however, Savii's work on this film has to be seen to be believed. Gorehounds can't afford to miss it.


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