Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Weekly schlock and crazy Frank
Oh the 80’s were a magical movie time for horror. There was a myriad of slashers out there and they ranged from awesome to complete drek.
I have been perusing the back logs of horror I finally got around to some more early 80’s horror that some love/loathe.
Maniac from 1980.
We are introduced to one Frank Zito. He is a schlubby guy who looks equal part big harmless brute and full on creep-o stalker. He has just awoken from a dream about a twin killing on the beach. HE gets up to start his day and we see his tiny one room apartment (if you can call it that). Inside are several mannequins, paintings and a framed picture of what you can guess is his mom.
Red flag right there! Mommy issues!
We see Frank stroll around Times Square and acquire himself a woman of the night. This leads to a hotel room where instead of gentle love making Frank strangles the crap out of here and then scalps here with an adjustable x-acto knife. He returns home to place his new hooker hairpiece on one his mannequins. Frank has not only taken the top of the hooker’s head, but also her wardrobe. He places the clothes on the mannequin as well.
Well we know what Frank is all about now, being a lady killing, scalping and mannequin dressing serial killer.
For the majority of the movie Frank Zito is busy talking to himself, wheezy laughing, stalking his prey, dispatching them and adding new scalps and clothes to his plastic ladies.
Then a strange love story begins with a photographer named Anna. This is turn I didn’t see coming and pulls you out of the crazy killer world for a bit. Frank cleans up a bit while dating Anna, but now looks a whole different type of creepy. Think bar/lounge creeper and not serial killer now. Of course this leads to more death as Frank cannot help himself. Eventually, Frank succumbs to his craziness.
The deaths of everyone are the work of Tom Savini, who was super busy in the late 70’s- early 80’s. They are all descent but the payoff for the film is the scene with Frank, a shotgun and two lovers in a car. A ton of bloody gore that rivals a favorite scene of mine from Scanners. The finale with Frank is a good bit of bloody fun too! The death stuff here is all descent so no real complaints there.
Maniac looks pretty low budget, or was it just the era? It fits well into the early slasher flicks that lead the way for the juggernaut of Jason and Freddy sequels. Frank Zito is a descent creepy killer. He really looks the part both menacing and derpy. He talks to himself, has this wheezy growl going on when he gets worked up that is just weird. He is a believable serial killer. His room of mannequins is weird enough to work as well. We are never really given a backstory, but you can easily piece on together from his ramblings and mom stuff.
Maniac is not the best 80’s slasher, but it isn’t the worst. I’m still looking at The Prowler for that title. The death/blood effects make it alright to watch. Frank Zito is believable enough a serial killer. The ending is predictable now, but wasn’t back then. If you can get over the rough look and feel of the movie it is a worthwhile watch. If anything just to see more Tom Savini effects work.