32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Just sick or a horror masterpiece?,
By A Customer
This review is from: Maniac (DVD)
There are a number of people who find this film to be nothing more than a pointless and unnecessarily gruesome study in pathological and psychotic behaviour. I cannot agree with this opinion.
Although a very tough experience, the viewing of this film reveals in some depth the tortured mind of a pathetic Vietnam veteran (also a victim of child abuse) who is driven by his inner demons to slaughter various women in NYC in a psychotic attempt to revive the spirit of his dead mother.
It is a profoundly disturbing film.
Joe Spinell gives a remarkable performance as the demented killer. His verbal ramblings are profoundly unnerving. (Not to mention the hideous murders.) He manages to demonstrate the de-personalized actions of an insane "maniac" all too convincingly.
The direction is very good as well. Some very fine camera work.
It is interesting to note the incorporation of some themes of Mario Bava's "giallo" thrillers in this film. For example, consider the "dollhouse" effect of the main protaganist's grotesque apartment and compare this to the secret "bridal room" in Bava's HATCHET FOR A HONEYMOON. (Lustig and Spinell apparently enjoyed watching "banned" foreign horror movies in the old "grindhouse" cinemas on 42nd.)
The print offered by the new ANCHOR BAY DVD is an improvement over that of the old ELITE version. The colours are sharper and the night exterior scenes (notably that concerning the gruesome murder of the Tom Savani character and his "date") are not as murky.
Some good extras as well.
As a horror film, MANIAC comes close to being a masterpiece.