In 1980, a little horror film following the slasher-motif was broadly panned by critics – but it was the horror fans who saw the true value of the original Maniac! The short-sightedness of the critics was discounted as the movie developed a strong cult following among horror fans, and while it was no box office success, it served as an extremely important part in horror history, with groundbreaking effects work from Tom Savini, and a psychological depth in the script by initial Maniac, Joe Spinell.
32 years later, and we have a new Maniac on the scene in the form of Elijah Wood in a performance that shatters his previous “nice boy Frodo” image and reputation. A remake in structure, but tribute at heart, Maniac follows the tale of a tormented young man named Frank, indulging in serial killing activities.
As we journey through the story, the tale is shown in the first-person observation, immersing us in the psychological torment of the main character – and see that it is only through killing that Frank begins to feel free from the mental and emotional scars bestowed by his dead mother.
Psycho meets Drive in Maniac, Franck Khalfoun‘s remake of William Lustig’s 1980 horror film of the same name.
In this art-house slasher flick, Frank Zito (Elijah Wood) is a lonely schizophrenic who spends his nights prowling the streets of Los Angeles, stalking and murdering young women.
When he isn’t painstakingly restoring vintage mannequins, Frank is a professional serial killer. He scalps women and takes their scalps and clothing back to his dimly-lit abode, where he decorates his life-sized dolls as fucked-up trophies.
Once a mannequin has been gussied up to his satisfaction, Frank sleeps with his new girlfriend for several nights, using her to carry on one-sided conversations with his deceased mother, Angela (America Olivo), a rather negligent prostitute who subjected him to years of psychosexual abuse.