It’s flashback time, kiddies, so grab your Dramamine and bid one last farewell to your loved ones…just in case you don’t make it back.
April 2012: visionary Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, hot off the critical and commercial success of his stylishly violent (or is that violently stylish?) thriller Drive and possessing of the power to do whatever he pleased, took up the cause of mounting a remake of William Lustig‘s 1988 cult classic action-horror hybrid Maniac Cop. At first it was rumored that Refn might also direct, but those plans didn’t come to fruition. Lustig would also be serving as a producer on the remake alongside the screenwriter of the original, B-movie maverick Larry Cohen. Things go quiet. Refn moves on to direct Only God Forgives. Cut to black…
It’s been two years since it was first announced that filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) had signed on to produce a continuation of sorts of the 1988 cult horror-action classic Maniac Cop. It was rumored at the time that Refn might even direct the film as well, be it a prequel or sequel. Following the release of that news the project went cold, though Refn’s unabashed love of the original and its two sequels resulted in his teaming up with William Lustig, the director of Maniac Cop and its vastly superior 1990 sequel, for an audio commentary that accompanied last year’s top-notch Blu-ray release of Maniac Cop 2 (a disc I highly recommend by the way).
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.
The first trailer for Franck Khalfoun‘s Maniac showed just how dark and sadistic Elijah Wood can get. The film is a remake of the 1980s version of the same name, but this time features the kills from the character’s point of view. In the film, Wood plays a psychopathic killer who takes the scalps of his victims and attaches them to the mannequins he creates. Check out the trailer below.
Once again, this trailer is very brutal and very bloody, so if you are not comfortable with graphic depictions of violence and nudity, I suggest you turn back now. Otherwise, enjoy the trailer.