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Maniac- 30th Anniversary Edition DVD Review

“Maniac” is just not that interesting.

For those that are unaware, “Maniac” is an attempt to make a realistic slasher film. It’s essentially a character study of a psychotic, emotionally unstable killer (Frank) with mommy issues who fixates on women before stalking and killing them. The bulk of the film sees Frank preying upon a photographer played by Caroline Munro.

Instead of being a chilling horror film in the vein of “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer,” “Maniac” is a repetitive bore with some serious overacting by a groaning, grunting, crying Joe Spinell. Granted, Spinell does a commendable job of becoming this madman character, but there are times where he just tries a little too hard. It doesn’t help that there’s just not much too this film either. What you see is what you get.

The real highlight here is the great gore f/x work by master Tom Savini. Tom Savini also appears in a small, but memorable cameo role.

Summary:  Skip “Maniac”.

1.85:1  In the past, I’ve been impressed by Blue Underground film transfers, but with this one, I can’t even tell it’s been remastered in hi-def because the image is so grainy and wavy. Granted, this was a stylistic choice by the director because it adds to the atmosphere of the film. From a film standpoint, however, remastering this in hi-def is ultimately rather needless.

The 6.1 DTS-ES and 5.1 Dolby Digital EX audio traks are fine, but this is not a major audio centric film. There is minimal dialogue and the occassional music/score. That’s about it.

Extras:

* 7 theatrical trailers, 4 radio spots, and 9 TV spots.
* “Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 Promo Reel”-
* “Anna And The Killer- Interview with Caroline Munro”- Munro talks about the film, art, her career, etc.
* “The Death Dealer- Interview With Special Make-up Effects Artist Tom Savini”- As usual, Savini is always a good interview.
* “Dark Notes- Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway”.
* “Maniac Men- Interview With Songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky”- Director William Lustig talks about the song “Maniac” with the song’s writers. This is actually the best extra on the disc as the story of the song is pretty fascinating.
* Commentary by William Lustig and Andrew Garroni. Lustig does a great job with commentarys, but I prefer the second commentary with William Lustig, Tom Savini, Lorenzo Marinelli and Luke Walter.

* Still gallery, a quick minute with Joe Spinell at Cannes, a Caroline Munro TV interview, Joe Spinell on “The Joe Franklin Show,” a bad movie barf bag review show with Katie Kelly on News 4, a radio interview between Paul Wunder and William Lustig, Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro.
* Grindhouse Film Festival audience Q&A with Sharon Mitchell, Andrew Garroni, and William Lustig.
* William Lustig on the “Movie Madness” cable TV program.

* A “Gallery Of Outrage” which is a collection of quotes about the controversial film.

* 3 L.A. news stories, 1 Chicago news story, 4 Philadelphia news stories, 2 Newsbeat stories on violent films, and 2 rants by Al Goldstein about “Maniac” and violence in cinema.

* “The Joe Spinell Story”- A documentary about the actor/producer’s life. An interesting watch to be sure.

November 19, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

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