Maniac (1980) - Drama, Horror, Thriller

Hohum Score



A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

IMDB: 6.5
Director: William Lustig
Stars: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro
Length: 87 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 35 out of 177 found boring (19.77%)

One-line Reviews (100)

She likes him, and not in that patronizing puppy dog way, but because he is mysterious and strange, and therefore intriguing.

But, and every horror fan should remember that, violence without a function is not hard or shocking, it's boring.

Just when you feel Frank is becoming a pointless cheap character in a slasher movie the pace slows and we see Frank befriending a female photographer, and we are allowed a glimpse of Frank's human and quite charming side.

The stalking scenes in the subway are some of the most intense parts of any movie I've ever seen that along with everything else help make this a highlight amongst all 70's and 80's slasher horrors.

The score is quite creepy and there are a few scenes that are actually quite scary and there is one scene (a stalking scene set in a subway) that is very well done and is one of the most intense scenes in all of the horror movies I have seen.

The best murder sequence involves Savini having his head blow clean off in slow gory motion, so it's not all about being misogynist.

In watching "Maniac," I found the movie to be excrutiatingly boring.

It's ugly, brutal, grimy, slow paced and has scenes which make you feel really dirty.

It often recalls other films like TAXI DRIVER (a film in which Spinell had a bit part) in its depiction of a New York filled with litter, sleaze and low-lives and it has to be said that this is a depressing, non-entertaining ride through some of the lowest quarters imaginable.

This is the real crime of the movie since he isn't one of the more fascinating serial killers in cinema history, so it can become boring if you're not in the right mind-frame.

Definitely Worth Watching .

Final view on the film: A fantastic ,almost fake documentary Slasher film,that still packs a knock-out punch thanks to Spinell's aggressive performance,still- stunning special make up effects from Savini and gritty directing from Lustig.

I felt bored.

The film is also notorious for a head explosion by shotgun blast (Savini contrived to pull the trigger and shoot himself, in a small role as Disco Boy) which is more graphic than the one in SCANNERS!

I found myself bored silly and quite annoyed with Joe Spinell's whining, wheezing villain.

Simple, dark and drawn out synth lines help further develop the grim mood of Maniac.

The film opens with some sort of dream sequence involving the usual 80's horror cliche where a young couple are alone on a deserted beach, the boyfriend walking off to get firewood so the girl can get her throat slit by a psychopath with a razor blade.

The film succeeds most when Frank is stalking his victims - scenes are drawn out at great length and create some genuinely tense moments.

Nevertheless "Maniac" is pretty entertaining from beginning till the end, shocking and disturbing!

For example, in one particular scene there was a "nurse" (played by Kelly Piper) who appears and then after a moderately suspenseful chase scene is killed.

Wanton violence is one way to shock and audience, but if you want your film to leave a lasting impression on the viewer; there must be a frightening idea behind it all.

I won't say too much to spoil it but the plot is actually good, suspenseful and full-on graphic.

For the most part, nearly everything enjoyable with this one involves the gory killings which makes out nearly every single wound is like cutting through an important artery in the body.

Now, the storyline is rather simple but the movie is suspenseful enough to hold your interest.

After a gruesome yet effect start, structure is repetitious with a pointless sequence involving Kelly Piper as a brainless nurse who manages to corner herself in a subway washroom before having a knife lunged into her back.

This movie may lack in some departments, and it sure contains some logical inconsistencies, but it is definitely suspenseful and scary as hell.

The film itself, I thought, was scary, disturbing, intense and even suspenseful in parts (the subway sequence was especially well handled), which is how it should be.

Surely a hot photographer wouldn't waste her time with the portly, slimy Maniac.

The movie is about a serial killer, but the following scenes we see are just murders one-by-one, though shown with much atmosphere, suspense and gore-like-blood-and-guts-everywhere style, it's too boring and simply stupid.

No story beyond that.

The romance between Spinell & Caroline Munro is rather mundane to say the least, and it felt a bit otiose to me.

I am a horror movie fan, but I find the horror movies from the 70's and early 80's fascinating.

The atmosphere, the gore, the pacing, the music, the acting, everything about this film coalesces to create a dramatic, suspenseful, depressing, and endlessly fascinating entertainment experience.

I found the entire movie entertaining and was anticipating the killer's next murder through every moment of the film.

Okay, first of all this movie was shot in New York and there's something I find fascinating about the look of films shot in NY in the 70's or 80's.

Maniac is a truly fascinating film.

Robert Lindsay, the films cinematographer and camera operator, has an eye for the suspenseful, with beautiful shots of atmosphere, it is also with Jay Chattaway's ear, Tom Savini's hands and the imagination of the late Joe Spinell that Maniac is a film that both terrorises and amazes.

Seeing a few of my squeamish female friends appalled and horrified by the film made it well worth the watch to me!

The acting is great, the music is chilling but its Tom Savini's Visual gore effects that's worth the watch, this is by far the best 80's gore I've seen since The Prowler (I've only seen recently for the first time) and Cannibal Holocaust.

On the contrary, Maniac can be an entertaining film, once the viewer relinquishes its disturbing topics.

No real plot, storyline, or point.

One of them is how boring it can be at times.

The main problem here is the fact that the movie focuses on the killer more than the victims he goes after, being a character study rather than a truly enjoyable body count hacking.

In the title role, writer/star Joe Spinell turns in an amazingly overblown and dull-witted depiction of a man at war with his own demons.

The thing which makes this film crappy is boring, irritating and much too simple plot.

Apparently neither did he because the ending was quite abrupt and unexpected.

We wait on the edge of our seats for the explosions of blood and agony just as he does.

had Bill resisted leaving an open- ended, he's-still-alive PEEKABOO Cliché SHOT!

The film is full of tension and suspense, with the highlight being the lengthy stalking of a nurse, which literally had me on the edge of my seat throughout; fingernail-biting stuff.

When you've gotten bored with the likes of Friday 13th and the like, take it to the next level with Maniac!

I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected, simply because when the man is talking to himself it all gets a little confusing, and you're left trying to figure what he's on about.

A Stunning Performance by Spinell .

Boring .

His rambling, pointless monologues have achieved a degree of infamy comparable to the film's extreme violence.

The subway stalking scene is cool, very suspenseful.

That makes it quite suspenseful (actually the only suspense throughout the whole movie).

Nevertheless Maniac is still an enjoyable classic that will appeal to fans of old-school horror.

Extremely suspenseful, sleazy, and absolutely disgusting .

This might make the movie even more unbearable to some viewers.

Moreover, once the viewer has immersed into it he/she will forget the pitfalls and have fun – i.

What a waste of money!

The film does not offer a whole lot in the way of suspense since we know that each of Spinell's victims WILL meet a grisly demise, but as a pure thriller, it is totally engaging.

For this it is too slow and much to violent.

He totally brings it with a totally intense performance and presence as well as having many layers to this complex and creepy character.

Where are the forensics looking for fingerprints or the coroner, this movies leaves a whole lot out which makes it terribly boring and uninteresting.

Spurned on by a grizzly, haunting and excellent score, both electronic and musical, by Jay Chattaway (Maniac Cop - 1988, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" - 1987 / 94 etc), this is a fine signature tune, both her own and Zito's, that helps delve only deeper into the confusion of this primal scream.

Elsewhere, the beautiful Caroline Munro is wasted as a fashion photographer who dates Spinell during his more lucid moments, while Spinell himself makes for a very uninteresting psycho.

Ultimately, the movie is not perfect with some dull, repetitive scenes and unnecessary scenes which are obvious padding.

I saw the remake before I saw this one (which I know is considered taboo to some of my fellow movie lovers) but, after going back to watch where the remake came from, it's no surprise this one was remade because I found it boring and pretty uninspired for a horror movie.

Your enjoyment of Maniac will depend solely on how comfortable you are watching a largely plot-less series of brutal and unflinching murder sequences and dwelling inside the mind of one of the most depraved killers to ever grace a film screen.

Maniac has plenty of surprises, unexpected twists, a chilling climax, all without the censorship of an R rating.

Joe Spinell does a great job and the f/x is very well, too but somehow the movie was boring.

Maniac is slightly predictable and mostly realistic, which is pretty much the norm with serial killer movies.

but still worth watching .

There is no plot and no characterization, and only near the end you realize why Zito kills all these women.

Frank also goes underground in the New York Subway system where he stalks a young nurse on an empty subway platform, then into a deserted public mens room, and runs her through with a two foot bayonet.

In the same very scary scenes there's a good creepy atmosphere which gets build up real slow.

My one complaint is that it moved to slow.

There's a tight, claustrophobic atmosphere to the film & it can be unsettling at times, the surprisingly suspenseful chase through the subway as Frank stalks the nurse is particularly well shot & put together in this regard.

This is a highly controversial and much-maligned film, featuring some of the most intense gore ever committed to film.

Director William Lustig directs and shows that he knows what he is doing behind the camera, creating some very terrifying chase scenes, particularly the one in the empty subway station.

But actually after having watched it again just now I found it quite boring and not half as gory as I thought it would be after having read some of the comments on imdb.

Now I would like to start off this review by addressing the fact that Gene Siskel walked out on this movie during the infamous shotgun blast movie saying that there was no way the movie could redeem itself.

Long- drawn-out scenes of a woman being hunted down to the subway, finally being stabbed (sense?

We get a slew of graphic kills here, mutilating the body with a series of intense work full of incredible effects work that gets featured.

A waste of time, effort, and money.

Maniac is one of the better horrors of 80s, making us believe slasher is unique and unpredictable in its own universe.

It's full of glum, yet compelling you-can't-look-away sequences including the opening, the one with the disco boy and girl, the murder of the hooker, Zitos' terrorizing of Annas' friend Rita (Abigail Clayton, one of several porn actresses among the cast), the stalking of the nurse, and the final bit of business in Zitos' room.

Jason", "Cannibal Ferox", "Scanners", "The New York Ripper", "Caligula", "House on The Edge of the Park", "Urban Legend", "Jungle Holocaust ( a.

But the pacing is quite slow (in that it is a typical film from the eighties).

DVD has an fascinating documentary titled "The Joe Spinell Story" with interviews with his close friends, an intriguing audio commentary by the filmmakers, an hidden feature and more.

The majority of Savini's work on the film is stunning, with only the final decapitation being less than perfect.

In his excellent book 'Terror on Tape', James O'Neill observes that this plot development is contrived - surely such an alluring and beautiful woman would not deign to become involved with such a sweaty, drooling, overweight slob.

'Maniac' is completely his show, though former Bond girl Caroline Munro (Franco's 'Faceless') is very good as Zito's unexpected love interest, and buffs will get a kick out of seeing Tom Savini ('Dawn Of The Dead'), also responsible for the gruesome effects.

Amusingly gory, sometimes suspenseful maniac killer after women film.

The relationship between Spinell and the photographer (played by Caroline Munro) is intriguing too.

dull and boring .

Also, hearing him whine and act loopy can get a tad tedious.

Maniac was made on a low budget and this gives the film a suspenseful ambiance.

It gets dull.