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Review: Maniac (1980)

Psychopath takes out Mommy Issues on unsuspecting women in chilling 1980 re-release
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  February 15, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

Frank Zito's mom fucked him up. She fucked him up real good. Now he's a serial killer, and William Lustig's Maniac (re-released for its 30th anniversary by Grindhouse) takes a harrowing, stomach-churning journey into his psyche. It reads like a snuff film, the grainy, off-color photography resembling the home movie of an unhinged, would-be filmmaker. Today's horror movies barely register once the credits stop rolling, but not so Maniac. The scenery is drab and so are the actors, and their interactions are unsettlingly realistic. Frank (Joe Spinell) trawls Manhattan's underbelly for victims, prostitutes and young lovers alike; he works out his Oedipal hang-ups with his bare hands and, in one of the best head explosions I've seen in a while, a shotgun. His labored breathing and petulant whine underscore most of the action. With his pockmarked, sweaty face, flaccid girth, and sing-song croon, he's the stuff of cinematic gold and back-alley nightmares. You won't soon forget him.

Related: Review: The Devil Inside, Review: Weekend, Review: The Skin I Live In, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Horror, murder, serial killer,  More more >
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