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Day of the Maniac
on June 20, 2011
It's coming....it's coming...it's the Day Of The Maniac! He's coming to get you! I hereby declare April 24th to be an official holiday which horror fans around the world can enjoy. Let's call it the Day of The Maniac, shall we? Go ahead and mark your calendars now if you will and plan to day the day off from work next year. On this special day, you may only partake of films with the word Maniac. Oh, alright. We'll make an exception here. You may also watch Edwige Fenech films or anything with George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov. Does that sound better?
Around Christmas time, I came across a very interesting article in Horror Hound regarding the old VHS tapes from Super Video. Having once collected obscure videotapes myself, I couldn't help but notice some of the titles which I'd seen through the years. Some of them are not missed & have submerged into the great tape oblivion whereas others have resurfaced on DVD under alternate titles. One particular VHS case entitled Day of the Maniac in this issue caught my eye and I had to track this title immediately. Leave it to Horror Hound as they can entice anyone at anytime to go a killer shopping spree with no great results. Little did I know exactly how hard it was going to be when I began my search for the Day of the Maniac.
After browsing the Internet for awhile, I ran across some valuable information which would help me locate the film. Day of the Maniac may be quite rare as VHS tapes are practically non-existent these days but I was fortunate as the film was released by my beloved Shriek Show under the alternate title All The Colors Of The Dark. It was as if the cinematic heavens were rejoicing at my findings and fate had kinda smiled at me. Wrong. It was out of print and I wasn't about to pay some capitalist on Amazon $50 for a used copy so I had to wait until just a few weeks ago to finally see this masterpiece. Thankfully, there are quite a few copies on Amazon and Ebay now which are under $20 and that's affordable in my book. Buyers note: Snatch this one up immediately as it is rumored to be out of circulation and God only knows when or if this will be granted another DVD release.
Please forgive me in advance as I'm not versed with any of Edwige Fenech's catalog though I've heard the name in conversations across the board for many years now. Sadly, the only film I'd seen with this raven-haired goddess was none other than Eli Roth's Hostel 2 and that's merely a cameo appearance. Although Fenech has aged with beauty and grace, her role is brief and one could almost overlook her presence as the Italian art teacher. Sadly, I had no idea just how beautiful the woman truly is nor did I have a clue as to how many films she'd made through the years though admittedly most were before my time of course.
Jane (Fenech) is plagued with nightmares and can't seem to shake herself of some rather unpleasant thoughts. To make matters even worse, she feels as though something from her past is coming to get her although she can't a place a finger on it. Her fiance Richard (George Hilton) seems to think the nightmares will pass and that vitamins are all she really needs. Although he's a busy man, he remains supportive of Jane and even objects to her sister's (Susan Scott) insistence that Jane visit a psychiatrist. Jane, on the other hand, doesn't feel the vitamins are working and visits the psychiatrist.
Although the well-meaning psychiatrist tries to help Jane with her issues, Jane's nightmare seems to materialize before her very eyes and there doesn't seem to be any answer or reason to his seemingly endless pursuit. The blue-eyed maniac (Ivan Rassimov) from her dreams follows Jane around with a knife or anything that could be construed as a weapon and our dear woman spends a great deal of time running from this creep with nowhere to turn. Realizing that her life is taking a turn for the worst, she confides in a neighbor who seems to think that black magic may ward off the maniac.
Jane proceeds to attend a black mass in hopes of that they can ward off the maniac. One small problem: the devil worshiping clan promises Jane complete freedom yet they are murderers themselves and our blue eyes fiend is one of them. Even more terrifying, Jane can't seem to differentiate between dreams and reality anymore although she obviously knows the cult does exist as they marked her with a tattoo. Not knowing who she can trust or turn to now, Jane contact the psychiatrist one last time but even he may be too late. Or could he be involved in the whole deal?
While certainly comparisons to Roman Polanksi's Rosemary's Baby have been made and even acknowledge by members of the cast/crew, All The Colors of The Dark still remains a fresh and inventive giallo that can stand on it's own. In fact, the similarities between the two films end with the occult theme as both films are completely different in plot structure, pacing, etc. Sergio Martino gives a sly nod to the devil worshipers but Polanksi's well known film but doesn't really steal a page from it per se. When it's all said and done, Martino's moody and stylish thriller is still very much a giallo in the same vein as early Argento or Bava without the use of black gloves.
Fans of gialli will certainly be delighted to get their hands on this now out of print classic.