Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movie: Maniac (1980)

This slasher flick by William Lustig is known for its outrageous violence and utter splatter, and it has been banned i.e. in Finland. Now it's been released on DVD in here as well - there are two discs, the other containing the uncut version. I watched the uncut version earlier today and wrote a three-star review of it.

There's a short introduction by Drive and Pusher director Nicolas Winding Refn in the beginning of the film. Refn says that Maniac is a combination of an European art film and a splatter film. He may well be right, as the film is purposefully slow and brooding, with Joe Spinell's confused monologue on top of everything else. The slow pace gives the film a detached, yet somehow intimate feeling. There are also no clear explanations as to why Spinell's character, Frank Zito, is killing all these women and scalping them. There are one or two scenes about it, but that's about it.

The combination of the slow pace and extremely brutal killings is an uneasy one, and I think John McNaughton did it better with his Henry: The Portrait of a Serial Killer, just six years later, but Maniac is still worth seeing, if you can stand it. There are some implausibilities, though. I didn't buy that a maniac like Frank Zito could pull out the artist act and almost seduce the woman photographer like he does in the film.

More Overlooked Movies at Todd Mason's blog.


Todd Mason said...

I've seen only a piece of this one, and it seemed about as weak as its rep suggested...but if it comes by again (in the firehose spray of cable), I'll give it a more sustained try.

I've never seen a good Brian De Palma film, and only two decent Oliver Stone films, and I keep giving those clowns a shot on cable and the like...

Juri said...

Yeah, I don't think this is your kind of stuff, Todd, given how much we've disagreed on some of the horror films of the seventies and eighties. :)