Part 6 of 13, excerpted from an essay entitled “Disturbo 13: The Most Disturbing Horror Films Ever Made” by Stanley Wiater.
Many movies have used this ultimate horror title over the years. However, accept no substitutes. This is the low-budget gore film that is so completely devoid of moral perspective that even Tom Savini—who delivered the state-of-the-art special makeup effects—later disowned it. The perfunctory story line has a “mama’s boy” (played by the character actor Joe Spinell, who also produced the movie and cowrote the screenplay) going about the city slaying various women, scalping them, and then nailing their scalps to his collection of mannequins. Which he then proceeds to bang in a different way.
Not too surprisingly, the entertainment value in Maniac is nil. The plot, such as it is, is basically a showcase of Savini’s incredibly realistic and gory special makeup effects. The torture a disfigurement and dismemberment of the women is shown in loving detail, for those who care to watch the walls run red with blood. Yet another film supposedly backed by those involved in the hard-core pornography industry, Manic’s filmmakers’ cold-blooded mentality is continually evident in the unrelentingly misogynistic attitude that women are god for only two functions: fucking or killing (and not necessarily in that order).
The film’s only value may be for someone studying the career of special makeup effects master (and now director Savini) Producer/writer/director/star Spinell died before getting a Maniac 2 underway. Read into that what you will.