A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?
An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
Frank Zito misses his mother, who was killed in a car accident years before. She was abusive to him, and made money selling her body, but Frank still misses her. He tries to keep her from leaving him, and reform her evil ways, by killing young women and putting their scalps on mannequins which he displays around his apartment. Photographer Anna D'Antoni takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he has been looking for or just another mother wannabe?Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Michael Sembello recorded a version of "Maniac" as the title track for a soundtrack for this film that was never released. While the lyrics are lurid and violent as reflections of what the movie was like, the song later caught the attention of producers who got Sembello to record a new version that matched the film they were working on. That film was Flashdance (1983) and "Maniac" became a #1 hit song on its soundtrack. See more »
The amount of blood on Rita's chest shortens. See more »
In Australia, the film had originally been banned for 11 months from 1981 to 1982 until a version with 1 minute and 50 seconds removed was eventually given an R rating. This version was released in cinemas and in 1984, given a video release through Video Classics. In 2004, Umbrella Entertainment submitted the uncut version to the Classification Board and it passed with an R rating. The uncut version was released on DVD in 2005. See more »
Horror is most purely about the violent impulse that surges from behind the eyes, the mist it creates; a story can be anything. Here it's the simplest story, man goes crazy in the big city, unable to contain the impulse, the whole seen through his mist.
There's a trauma that haunts him we find out, his cramped apartment is the mind then that fixates on memory and dwells among the fragments. The walls are lined with old photos of women, mannequins are scattered around; objects of a dead representation that he hoards unable to let go.
Quite a bit more of that story is explained to us later on, not much interesting; Freudian stuff about a mother, a vengeful child who never grew. But there's nothing we can't know by just seeing him pace up and down in his apartment, muttering to himself.
There's later a human connection to a photographer girl who snaps a picture of him one day in the park. The scenario is completely forced, a stranger and complete weirdo knocks on her door one day and they're best friends within minutes. It's something a weirdo much like the character would imagine (or write about).
But it's an opportunity to get closer to the real source, put our finger on the pulse; she a photographer who also freezes life into image but she's able to let go of it and share it in the open, while it just drives him to madness. We see her fuss with her models during a shoot much like he does with his gruesome mannequins; but her fiction has life, playfulness.
There's of course the violence, though it doesn't cut like perhaps it did then. It's still bloody and vivid. But what makes it powerful in its niche is the air of desperation around it, the whole film an internal monologue carving its garbled madness on the body of the night.
New York looks suitably barren, from the time before the makeover when people would walk down streets as bleak as in this film to see movies like it in dingy fleapit cinemas down 42nd street. The film is from that time when horror could still unsettle with the thought that somewhere in the same city, deranged souls very much like the character skulked around with a camera having horrible thoughts like this.
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