I warned you not to go out tonight

Directed by William Lustig (Maniac Cop [1988], Maniac Cop 2 [1990], Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence [1993])

Thoughts of Deep Red

Stars Joe Spinell (Gazzo in Rocky) as Frank Zito, the maniac of the title. Most horror fans will be familiar with this one and with the remake, Maniac [2012], starring Elijah Wood as Frank. I haven’t seen the remake yet but I first saw this years ago on video.

Maniac opens with a brutal double murder on a beach that sets the tone of this masterpiece perfectly. That tone is dark indeed. Then Frank wakes up screaming next to a scalp-wearing mannequin and then he’s off out on the prowl. He picks up a hooker and strangles her in a seedy hotel, scalps her, takes her scalp home and nails it to another mannequin….

Joe Spinell is simply phenomenal. This film is phenomenal. It’s all about Frank; we see through his eyes (that breathing), we watch him kill, we hear his thoughts, we’re along for the ride in this guy’s crazy life and it’s a crazy fucking ride. The violence is ferocious and there’s plenty of it. The gore’s very nicely done, classic Tom Savini (who also stars), and the atmosphere is spot on, backed up with a tremendously potent soundtrack I should add. New York provides the perfect gritty setting.

The gorgeous Caroline Munro plays Anna D’Antoni, a photographer who starts dating Frank. I liked this aspect of the film, it serves to show Frank’s sociopathic side.

A great, great film. A true classic. I hate to think what the remake is like as Maniac is yet another film that just doesn’t need one in my opinion, then again it might be good. As I said, I haven’t seen the remake yet but I seriously doubt it’s anywhere near as good as this though so definitely check out the original first, same goes for any film.

Make sure you see Maniac fully uncut too, the Blue Underground version is sublime and totally intact. Beautiful quality makes all the difference with these 70s/80s horror classics, I love watching them at their best so I can appreciate all the little details.

One of the finest horror films I’ve ever seen, next time I do a top ten this is going in it and that’s a tough list to get on these days. Maniac somehow gets better and better as it goes along and reaches a crescendo of insanity. I love it, you can probably tell.

Also stars Abigail Clayton as Rita, Kelly Piper as nurse, Tom Savini as Disco Boy, Hyla Marrow as Disco Girl, James L. Brewster as Beach Boy, Linda Lee Walter as Beach Girl, among others, and director William Lustig himself as Al – Hotel Manager.