“I told you not to go out tonight, didn’t I? Every time you go out, this kind of thing happens.”
“This kind of thing,” in William Lustig’s stone cold splatter classic, is the mutilation and murder of young women on the seedy streets of 80s NYC. MANIAC was given an X rating for violence and gore when it first released and was even banned in the UK as part of the video nasties debacle.
Akin to Abel Ferrara’s early exploitation films (THE DRILLER KILLER & MS. 45), MANIAC exists in a NYC that exists no more, governed by a ghoulishness you’d be hard-pressed to find in film in 2018.
Joe Spinell’s standout performance as Frank Zito, an utterly depraved and broken individual with no moral compass (or at least the ability to find it), dives deep into the mind of a serial killer few films since have managed.
Mistreated by his mother from an early age, Zito is unable to have meaningful relationships with women. But he does try! His apartment is packed full of dead-eyed mannequins and a growing collection of human scalps; trophies from his victims.
When he strikes up an uncomfortable friendship with photographer Anna D’Antoni (Munro), will he find the woman he’s looking for or an addition to his collection?
Scene after scene offers relentlessly grim, ultra-realistic violence thanks to special effects maestro Tom Savini, all of which will leave you speechless and, more likely, shell-shocked.
Lustig and Spinell really went to town on Zito; it’s an incredible performance, so well done you’ll feel dirty watching it, like you have the grime of the Deuce all over you. Absolutely not for the faint of heart, don’t miss the chance to bask in MANIAC’s bloody, brilliant remastered 4K g(l)ory.
Director: William Lustig
Egyptian Theatre: Hulu Screen