Maniac (1980)

Fri & Sat, July 19 & 20
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1hr 27mins // directed by:William Lustig // featuring:Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro // 35mm

It will tear the life out of you.

Maniac stars Joe Spinell (Rocky, The Godfather) as Frank Zito, a deeply disturbed man haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. When these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Even as he begins a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro), Frank continues to act on his vile compulsions. The film holds nothing back in depicting the atrocities of a human monster.

Maniac earned instant notoriety in 1980 as the most graphic and disturbing of all slasher films, thanks to the gruesome special effects wizardry of Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th). Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called for their audience to boycott Maniac, feminists protested the film's brutal violence, and other critics simply reviled the film as "sick" and "dirty."

Aside from the shocking, bloody special effects sequences, Maniac draws much of its power from the acting of the late Spinell, who also co-wrote and executive produced the film. Grindhouse Releasing, who has placed this beautifully gory new print in our hands, specializes in restoring and distributing the most extreme and controversial horror and exploitation films of our time.