Film Reviews: “Maniac” (1980)


Directed by William Lustig.
Starring Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, and Tom Savini.

Frank was abused as a child, and now as an adult he is on a murdering spree in New York. Who can stop him? He also sleeps with mannequins…

“Maniac” is an 80’s slasher with some neat effects by Tom Savini, who also appears in the film. It’s directed by William Lustig who later went on to direct “Maniac Cop” 1, 2, and 3. No relation to this film. He must really like the name Maniac!

There’s a great chase scene in a subway station. I think that some of the later slashers may have been inspired by this one. Certain shots, like of the killers feet walking as he follows the victims, are characteristic of the “Friday the 13th” films.

Half way though “Maniac” the tone changes completely as Frank dons his “normal” cap, having dinner with a photographer friend, a woman who he doesn’t have the urge to kill. She trusts him and is kind to him. For a point you think that maybe she could change how he is. Or are we all fooled? An interesting twist to an otherwise twisted film.

3.0 out of 4.0 stars.


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