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Maniac (1980)

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A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

Director:

William Lustig

Writers:

C.A. Rosenberg (screenplay), Joe Spinell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Spinell ... Frank Zito
Caroline Munro ... Anna D'Antoni
Abigail Clayton Abigail Clayton ... Rita (as Gail Lawrence)
Kelly Piper ... Nurse
Rita Montone ... Hooker
Tom Savini ... Disco Boy
Hyla Marrow Hyla Marrow ... Disco Girl
James L. Brewster ... Beach Boy (as James Brewster)
Linda Lee Walter Linda Lee Walter ... Beach Girl
Tracie Evans Tracie Evans ... Street Hooker
Sharon Mitchell ... Second Nurse
Carol Henry ... Deadbeat
Nelia Bacmeister Nelia Bacmeister ... Carmen Zito
Louis Jawitz Louis Jawitz ... Art Director
Denise Spagnuolo Denise Spagnuolo ... Denise
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Storyline

Frank Zito misses his mother, who was killed in a car accident years before. She was abusive to him, and made money selling her body, but Frank still misses her. He tries to keep her from leaving him, and reform her evil ways, by killing young women and putting their scalps on mannequins which he displays around his apartment. Photographer Anna D'Antoni takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he has been looking for or just another mother wannabe? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will tear the life out of you. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Maníaco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,000,000, 31 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie has several attributes to the film, Psycho (1960). Both Norman Bates and Frank Zito heard voices, were abused by their mothers, and are based off the real-life serial killer, Ed Gein. See more »

Goofs

The nurse is supposedly alone in the subway station, but during one shot (from inside the subway train as it pulls away) we can see several people walking about on the platform; they all disappear in the next shot. See more »

Quotes

[looks down at his latest victim]
Frank Zito: Now you tell me what I should do. I heard about it, I always do. I can't go out for a minute. It's impossible. Fancy girls, in their fancy dresses and lipstick, laughing and dancing. Should you stop them? I can't stop them. But you do, don't you? And they can't laugh and they can't dance anymore. You've got to stop, or they'll take you away from me. I will never, ever, let them take you away from me. You're mine now forever. And, I'm so happy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was rejected for a cinema certificate in 1981 by the BBFC and also for a video rating in 1998. It was finally released in the UK on the Anchor Bay label in 2002 after receiving 58 secs of cuts to a prolonged strangulation scene and to a sexualized stabbing sequence. See more »

Connections

Featured in Bleeder (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Compliment Your Leading Lady
Written by Don Armando/Coati Mundi (as Andy Hernandez)
Performed by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band
Courtesy of ZE Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Maniacal For Sure.
29 July 2006 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

"Maniac" is one of the few horror movies that I have seen that actually got under my skin a little. It made me feel uncomfortable while I watched what was happening on screen, and very few movies have ever done that to me. The movie follows a psychotic murderer as he wanders the streets of New York City, in cheap restaurants, rundown apartment complexes, and subway stations, searching for his next victims, each of them savagely murdered.

The plot for this movie may not seem very scary, but the way the movie is crafted is genuinely grisly and really made me feel uncomfortable. Rather than going from the victim's point of view as they are slashed to pieces (like most horror movies tend to do), this movie rather focuses on the actual killer himself. We learn about the abuse that he suffered as a small child at the hands of his domineering mother, which is presumably the reason he's become a murderer, taking out his own personal revenge on other people. The one thing about this movie that was so interesting was how the audience got to enter the mind of the killer, so to speak. Joe Spinell gave an excellent performance as the maniac in this movie, he portrayed a tormented human very well. There are some very grisly murders throughout the movie, all of which are fairly gruesome. But the most disturbing aspect to the film was the sense of psychosis that the killer is experiencing.

"Maniac" is surely similar to "Psycho", which makes me wonder whether or not the writers of this film were basing the plot on the real life serial killer Ed Gein, who also grew up with an abusive mother and suffered psychological problems later on as an adult, which ultimately drove him to grave-robbing and murder. There are some striking similarities between the story of this film and Ed Gein's life.

Overall, "Maniac" is one grisly, nasty movie. It displays the psychological torment that many real-life serial killers suffer from and does a good job at it, leaving it's audience uncomfortable in their seats. And from what I have seen, not many movies do that. 7/10.


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