Maniac (1980) Poster
The original 1980 Maniac, directed by William Lustig, was, as one of the posters described, “one of the most relentlessly depraved and disturbingmovies ever made.” It must be true, because Gene Siskel walked out of the theater in disgust after the “shotgun head explosion” scene.
No doubt that Maniac shocked audiences at the time, even after the horrific releases of such films as I Spit on Your Grave and The Last House on the Left, with its deep plunge into the mind of psychotic man, played beautifully by Joe Spinell as Frank Zito. But not only was there a psychological element to the film, but also a visceral one — especially with Tom Savini working his magic.
As the official synopsis goes on IMDB:
A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in NYC, kills young women and takes their scalps as trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in photographer Anna, and end his killing spree?
Despite the fairly negative critical response, Maniac was a Saturn Award nominee in 1981 for Best Low-Budget Film (Scared to Death won).
Maniac has gone on to enjoy a cult following and much more favorable reviews. Most recently, it’s been remade for a modern audience.
Maniac (2012) Poster
In 2012,Franck Khalfoun would be speaking to a much more desensitized and horror savvy audience with his remake. As a consequence, he would need a lead who could convincingly portray a psychotic man. Enter Elijah Wood. What? Frodo?
While some of the details of the plot have been shifted a bit, and the delivery of what’s seen on screen is different, the film still works as a harrowing study of a crazy man. However, just as its predecessor, Maniac 2012 has received mixed reviews.
Which of the two Maniac posters do you prefer? Personally, I’m partial to the ’80s style.
Rock Hard \m/