In the midst of the junk-laden slasher movie craze of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s came one of those rare exceptions: "Maniac." Anchored by the brilliantly creepy performance of Joe Spinell and an atmosphere awash in grungy and claustrophobia-inducing locations, "Maniac" succeeds where the vast majority of its contemporaries failed: it’s genuinely disturbing. Yes, the slasher-movie conventions are all here (except for the standard teenage morons, thankfully), but the execution is superb. I could’ve lived without the dopey final shot, but that’s a minor quibble. Throw your "Friday the 13th" DVDs in the wastebasket and replace them with the real thing.
About Maniac (1980)
Starring: Tom Savini, Caroline Munro, William Lustig, Frank Pesce, Kelly Piper, Randy Jurgensen, Denise Spagnuolo, Billy Spagnuolo, Candace Clements, Diane Spagnuolo, Joe Spinell, Kim Hudson, Abigail Clayton, Terry Gagnon, Joan Baldwin, Rita Montone, Jeni Paz, Hyla Marrow, Janelle Winston, James L. Brewster, Linda Lee Walter, Jimmy Aurichio, Tracie Evans, Andrew W. Garroni, Sharon Mitchell, Carol Henry, Nelia Bacmeister, Louis Jawitz
Director: William Lustig
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