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50 Essential Gore Films : #3 Maniac

Maniac started out with a budget of $48,000 in cash, which was put into a stock market account, which brought it up to $135,000, which was enough to get British producer Judd Hamilton to put in almost $200,000.

This budget,

while quite low, in no way reflects the level of gore used in this film. Tom Savini came in to do the special effects, and blows everything away, quite litterly in the shotgun scene, in which a dummy of Savini get's a point blank shotgun blast to the face. The dummy, afterwards, was locked in the truck of the car, and dumped in the water, I wonder if that got cops wondering?Maniac is the story of Frank Zito, a schizophrenic man who enjoys scalping young girls, and nailing them to mannequins in his apartment. While there is a love story tacked into the mix, the film is best known for being a non-stop barrage of violence and gore. After killing Frank is seen talking to himself, regretful of the things he's done, and these scenes are some of the creepiest moments in the film, due largely to the great performance by Joe Spinell, who had previously worked with greats, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese, on The Godfather, and Taxi Driver. The scenes of Zito in his apartment filled with mannequins and dolls are terribly creepy in the claustrophobic atmosphere they present, with each shot being filled with dolls. Maniac was directed by William Lustig, who's known for the clasc Maniac Cop series, and is lesser known for getting his start directing pornos. To save money on Maniac a lot of the woman who were just in it for a body count were played by contacts he made in the adult film buness. After seeing Maniac and Maniac Cop, William Lustig was Quentin Tarantino's first choice to direct True Lies, but it never happened. It's clear in watching that Maniac was inspired a lot by Argento, in the use of colors, and muc both. The muc in Maniac plays about as perfectly as any horror film I could ever see, mixing into the soundtrack a heartbeating slowly as the life is slowly being choked out of it.

And slowly indeed! The strangulation scene I'm talking about is one of the longest I've ever seen, clocking in at an impresve 1:25, the entire time cutting between the dying prostitute, and the terrifying look on Zito's face. Mere moments after we have Frank scalping the woman, with some of the best sound effects I've heard for making your gut turn. The dream sequence at the end of the film may be the goriest scene ever shot, with the mannequins coming to live in order to exact revenge on Zito. The headless one is the body of Ms. Voorhees from the original Friday The 13th.Maniac is one of the films I wish was mentioned more often. It is the pinnacle of the body count slasher movie, with the gore to keep you interest in the kills, and a performance that is worlds above what most slasher films were offering.

Score - A Gore - 10/10 Quality of gore - 10/10
HorrorDaily Monday 3/05/2012 at 06:27 PM | 91130