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Maniac [Blu-ray]

3.5 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Frank (Elijah Wood, The Lord of the Rings) leads a deceptively peaceful life: to the outside world, he s a withdrawn and somewhat eccentric owner of a mannequin store. But his quiet façade masks an inner rage that forces him to brutally kill the women who manage to get too close to him. When a young artist named Anna (Nora Arnezeder, Safe House) appears one day at Frank s shop and asks for his help with her new exhibition, Frank develops an obsession with her that threatens to completely destroy his already fragile psyche. Soon the streets become unsafe for any woman after dark as this newly-awakened maniac begins to stalk and kill. A 21st century Jack the Ripper story set in present day Los Angeles, MANIAC is an intimate, visually daring, psychologically complex and profoundly horrific trip into the downward spiraling nightmare of a killer and his victims.


Special Features: Making Of, Poster Gallery, Trailer


Product Details

  • Actors: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder
  • Directors: Franck Khalfoun
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DPUB57Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,593 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
As a huge fan of the Joe Spinell original, I have to say I was more than impressed with this retelling of one of the more unique horror films from the 80's. I was more than skeptical about the POV style, and of any remakes lately, but Elijah Wood was fantastic as the tortured psychopath. The special effects were great, if you like some good, bloody slasher movie effects, and the overall mood was dark and brooding, the way a slasher film should be. Highly recommended for the old school horror fan.
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By Eh on June 26, 2013
Format: Amazon Video
Awesome remake with great throwbacks, cool pov to really put you in the killer's mindset. Suspenseful and definitely worthy of a rewatch. Nice gore too.
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Format: Blu-ray
Certain movies speak to a specific time or place and the 1980 horror slasher "Maniac" is one of those films. William Lustig's bleak portrait of a serial killer capitalized on the birth of the home video market to offer an underground movie experience to audiences who didn't typically have access to non-mainstream cult movies. For its time, it became a bona fide sensation. I'd maintain that it isn't a particularly good movie (and I've probably seen it a half dozen times and own it), but it was startlingly effective as a new breed of shocker. The early eighties were a thrilling time for independent films! The VHS explosion opened up a whole new world and made monster hits out of movies that otherwise would not have been so impactful with lesser availability. "The Evil Dead," for example, is one of the era's most sweeping success stories. Part of the appeal of the original "Maniac" is that it is a visceral movie, one that puts the viewer right into the middle of some rather unpleasant events. This remake maintains a chilly aloofness and captures events from a bold "killer's eye" viewpoint, but it simply lacks the horrific novelty of its predecessor. With another 30+ years of movie brutality in the can, the story behind "Maniac" doesn't have the same effect as it once did.

Beyond this observation, though, I will refrain from any other comparisons and simply look at this new iteration of "Maniac" on its own terms. Elijah Wood plays the titular character and he is, indeed, unwell. Fans of Wood might embrace this change-of-pace endeavor, but it should be noted that he isn't actually seen very often despite being in every frame of the movie. The whole experience is done with a creepy Point of View perspective, meaning that we're seeing through Wood's eyes.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I remember seeing the original, late night showing at a theater. It was the only theater I think in the whole state
that was showing this film, and only at night.
I had heard a lot of talk that it was like nothing ever seen.

Early in the film, Frank (Joe Spinell), who's character we don’t know yet, stalks a young couple leaving a club and
follows them in his car to a secluded park in New York.
Out of the blue, and totally unexpected, Frank, with shotgun in hand, jumps on the couple’s parked car hood and
blows the guy's (played by Savini) head off in slow motion.
I nearly fell out of my seat, and my blood pressure flew off the scale.

I was expecting ( like every other film I had seen) them to quickly cut just before the blast, but no, you see it up close,
in slow motion, with very graphic realism.
After dispatching the guy, Frank levels the shotgun at the blood splattered girl, and I was now expecting to see another
head explode, but this time, they cut.

With that introduction to the film, I knew I was in for a real ride. This film meant business, and anything can happen, which
kept my anticipation up high through the whole movie.

Now, on to this modern remake.
This effort pales compared with the original.
It's to "clean", lacks the grainy, gritty grunge, it's over-written, over-produced, and a bit to stylish.

Elijah Wood is horribly mis-cast as Frank. He is small, skinny, and fragile looking. I understand what the director had in mind
when casting Wood because I read his interviews. He was looking for a sort of, reverse psychology.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I wish I read the reviews before I rented this. This is not the movie that is advertised in the title.

Edit:

The mixup has been FIXED so I was able to see the movie. Now to fix my rating with a proper review. This is a definite 5 star horror movie in my book.

The POV camera for the stalking/killing is very jarring (harkening back to the opening scene of Halloween). Paired with the somewhat retro soundtrack it gives a nostalgic feeling for old style slasher movies in a modern setting, and I think the movie itself is a solid entry into that genre. The violence in the movie is VERY graphic (and it does not shy away from it using quick cuts or other camera tricks), so gauge your own stomach before watching, but it is worth it in my opinion.

Like I said, definite 5 star on the movie.
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Format: Blu-ray
MANIAC is the story of a crazy man. A maniac, if you will. Mentally ruined by a mother with, let's say, loose morals, Frank, our lead, spends most of his time restoring antique mannequins and the rest of his time struggling with lethal, sexual desires for women (and their hair). When Frank meets a young photographic artist named Anna, he tries to rise above his dark and disturbing fetish, but things don't look good.

The film, ostensibly, stars Elijah Wood, although he's on-screen for barely a tenth of the film. The bulk of the movie is told from Frank's POV as he struggles with headaches, sex, and his love of scalps. Although the story isn't terribly detailed, its refusal to spell everything out makes for an enticing psychological portrayal. Unfortunately, the POV filming ends up having the opposite of what I assume was its intended effect. Rather than drawing the viewer inside of Frank, enmeshing the audience in his thoughts and deeds, the POV perspective ends up distancing us from Frank. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and we spend 95% of the film staring out those windows from the other direction. As a result, we don't see Frank's soul as much as we see the destruction the soul creates. This makes the film feel cold and half-done.

Saved from being a total loss by a strong score and some pretty convincing special effects, the movie has its moments (especially its final, brutal scene), but these feel more like teasing glimpses at what the film could've been had it allowed the viewer a better view of our title character.
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