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Maniac

3.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Maniac
Narcotic

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$5.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

Horace Carpenter. A psychopath impersonates a surgeon with grisly results. Famous for its graphic violence, surreal images and nudity. 1934/b&w/54 min/NR.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Marcel Andr, Jennie Dark, Ted Edwards, Celia McGann, Thea Ramsey
  • Directors: Dwain Esper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000639EK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,670 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: DVD
Ladies and gentlemen, the search is over. I have discovered the worst film ever made. This atrocity from 1934 is only 51 minutes long, but there is so, so much to talk about I hardly know where to begin. The sheer impossibility of this film actually makes it important, however. Maniac is essentially the grand-daddy of all exploitation movies, but this goes way beyond simple exploitation. It is paramount that we assign the blame for this movie where it is due: producer/director Dwayne Esper. palmed this film off as an actual study of mental illness-throughout the movie, we are occasionally presented with place cards detailing the types of mental illness our educational movie is about to illustrate. I can't believe this was actually released in the 1930s; there's even some partial nudity in this thing (though, of course, no glimpse of the evil belly button forbade by the infamous Hayes Code). Apparently, Esper made his educational entertainment films outside of Hollywood and thus avoided the type of censorship being practiced in Tinsel Town.
The movie begins in the lab of Dr. Meirshultz (Horace Carpenter), a mad scientist obsessed with restoring life to corpses. He needs a dead body, of course, and he orders his assistant Don Maxwell (Bill Woods) to get him into the morgue. Maxwell is a former vaudeville entertainer and impersonator, so he passes himself off as the coroner and gets the good doctor inside the morgue (somehow fooling two incompetent and quite possibly inebriated morgue workers). Doc gives the lucky, female stiff a couple of jabs from his huge hypo, and after a few minutes of intense arm rubbing, she begins to stir. The boys hurry home gleefully with their prize.
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Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
If you are looking at this review you probably already know the story of the fim, Maniac. A film you have to see to believe. A sampling of the things that happen in this 1933 film: A woman is brought back to life, an unemployed actor kills an insane scientist, a man plucks out a cat's eyeball then eats it, a crazy man is injected with Super Adreniline, a man rapes the woman who was brought back from the dead, there is nudity, there are misspelled words in the pseudo scientific inter-titles, a man is walled up ala Poe's the Black Cat, etc. AND, this all happens in 51 minutes!
Alpha's release is not great, but watchable. If you are curious about this title, then spend the $.... If you like it, then wait and perhaps some company will release a nice print. As I suspect this will be unlikely, go ahead and take a gamble on the Alpha release. There are no extras on the disk and is contains only 4 chapter stops. Hey, what do you expect for $...?
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Format: Amazon Video
The subject and story line are interesting,but, the physical film is such low quality that it comes across as a historical relic with bad acting. How bad is the acting? Imagine a low level high school play where the drama teacher tells the untalented students to ham it up a little. Now record this on a celluloid film that you heat and stretch and abuse for 60 years but through a miracle it still plays. OK Throw in a underbelly of society drug scene that's way out of date and you have this film. If you get off on this kind of thing, then, just seeing people laying around and smoking in an opium den will make this time waster totally woth it for you. For everyone one else, expect a garbled, jittery muddled peek through the wrong end of a movie experience telescope.
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Format: DVD
This double-feature DVD features 2 early 1930's exploitation films from Dwain Esper. Although maybe tame by today's standards, just try to imagine seeing people shoot up heroin in a movie back in the 30's! It's all very high camp now, of course, and if you like antique sleaze, this may be your thing. Esper was definitely no Kubrick, but he has his own strange and absurd style...inserting shots that have no point, suddenly cutting away to show animals fighting each other, superimposing stock footage, etc. Could he be the precursor to Ed Wood? Anyway, some highlights of the 2 films include a real shot of a cesarian birth of a baby, a snake eating another snake, a cat's eyeball poked out (and then eaten by the maniac), a couple of real sideshow freaks, some brief nudity as a psycho carries off a woman to ravish her, and of course lots of over-the-top acting. Both movies tried to get around the censoring codes of the time by pretending to have a message (narcotics are bad), but the movies are strictly exploitative. The prints used for this DVD are scratchy and have some jumps here and there, but considering the age and that no major studio was behind these films, this may be the best materials available. Also on the DVD is the trailer for "Maniac", some letters from the censor at the time, an excerpt from a silent italian film "Maciste in Hell" that footage was superimposed in "Maniac", and audio commentary by an author-expert on Esper and such films. A worthy purchase if you like stuff like "Reefer Madness", etc., but don't expect any scalpings in "Maniac" ---it's actually a loose re-telling of "The Black Cat".
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