Watch Maniac

"I warned you not to go out tonight!"
  • R
  • 1980
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 6.4  (19,945)
  • 22

Maniac is an American slasher film from 1980 directed by William Lustig and starring Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, and Abigail Clayton. The movie follows a disturbed man named Frank Zito (played by Spinell) who is obsessed with scalping women and adding their hair to his collection of mannequins. The plot of the movie revolves around Frank's escalating violence as he continues to kill and collect the scalps of women, while also developing a disturbing relationship with a photographer named Anna (played by Munro).

The movie opens with a graphic scene of Frank murdering and scalping a woman in front of a mannequin, setting the tone for the rest of the film. Frank is shown to be deeply disturbed with a troubled past, including a traumatic childhood and years of therapy that didn't result in any meaningful progress. As the movie progresses, we see Frank's worsening mental state as he becomes more fixated on Anna and his urge to kill and collect scalps becomes harder to control.

One of the most striking aspects of Maniac is its use of practical effects and gore to create a visceral, unsettling experience for the viewer. The movie features numerous scenes of brutal violence and mutilation, with the camera often lingering on the bloody aftermath of Frank's attacks. The special effects work, particularly in the scenes where Frank is scalping his victims, is particularly well done, creating a convincing and disturbing image of the violence. The film's use of makeup work to showcase the graphic horror is notable, particularly for a film that was released in 1980.

In addition to the graphic violence, Maniac also uses its setting in New York City to add a sense of atmosphere to the film. The movie takes place primarily at night, with Frank stalking alleyways and subway stations in search of his next victim. The use of lighting and sound design, particularly the eerie music that plays throughout the film, creates a sense of dread that stays with you even after the credits roll.

The performances in the film are also noteworthy, particularly Joe Spinell's turn as Frank Zito. Spinell's portrayal of Frank is deeply unsettling, capturing the character's deep-rooted psychological issues and compulsions. Caroline Munro is also great as Anna, bringing a sense of vulnerability and fear to the role of the photographer who becomes entangled with Frank. While some of the film's supporting cast can be a bit wooden in their performances, the leads are strong enough to carry the film.

One of the criticisms that has been leveled at Maniac is its portrayal of women. The movie depicts women primarily as victims to be stalked, murdered, and scalped, with only a few female characters being given any depth or agency. While the film's focus on violence against women is undoubtedly disturbing, it is not unique to this movie and was a common trope in the slasher genre at the time. However, it is worth noting that the film's depiction of violence and misogyny may be a trigger for some viewers.

In conclusion, Maniac is a disturbing and effective horror film that uses practical effects, setting, and strong performances to create a sense of dread and unease. While its focus on violence against women may be off-putting to some, the movie is a prime example of the slasher genre and has become a cult classic for horror fans. If you can stomach the violence and gore, Maniac is a well-crafted horror film worth checking out.

Maniac is a 1980 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 22.

Where to Watch Maniac
Maniac is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Shudder, Apple TV, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Maniac for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (19,945)
  • Metascore