Directed by William Lustig
Maniac is a slasher film shot from the perspective of the killer. Frank Zito leads a double life: during the day, he is an artist; by night, he stalks, murders, and scalps women. Frank often concludes the evening by returning home and conversing with the blood covered mannequins that populate his apartment.
After reading this introduction, one may wonder what conflict was featured in the film. Unfortunately, this question will go unanswered, because there is no major discernible story or plot in Maniac. The audience is presented with a series of seemingly unrelated instances in which Frank butchers several individuals.
Joe Spinell, who portrays Frank, looks the part rather well. It is interesting to see a portly, unkempt man act as the killer. It is often the case with traditional slashers that the villain is slender and masked. The best part of this film is Frank’s mad face when he is physically overpowering his victims. His eyes bulge from his head and his face turns blood red.
Barring Spinell’s interesting performance and some special effects from Tom Savini, this film is nothing special and hardly features any story at all. Frank’s character does not have the depth to hold this film together by himself. This leaves the audience to ponder on thoughts of what could have been.