31 Days of ’80s Horror – Maniac

31 Days of Horror Day 11 banner

Welcome to 31 Days of ’80s Horror boys and ghouls! Each day in October I’ll be posting about a horror film from the 1980s, some of which you may have heard of, others may be a little more obscure. This is the month to celebrate all things spooky so I wanted to present some films from my favorite era of the horror genre. I hope you enjoy the column and discover some new ’80s horror flicks to watch, or rewatch, whatever the case may be. I know I’ll be checking out some of these ghastly tales myself since I’ve come across a few that even I’ve never heard of! So on with the horror! On with the terror! On with the ’80s!

Maniac movie poster


Frank Zito is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. And 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. Now Frank has begun a relationship with a beautiful photographer, yet his vile compulsions remain. These are the atrocities of a human monster. This is the story of a MANIAC.

The movie stars Joe Spinnell (Tony Gazzo from Rocky and Rocky II) and Caroline Munro (Slaughter High, The Spy Who Loved Me) with an appearance by special effects legend Tom Savini as “Disco Boy.” The movie was co-written by Spinnell and directed by William Lustig (who went on to direct the Maniac Cop trilogy). I’ve yet to see Maniac but I’ve been wanting to for years, so I suppose I should get ahold of a copy and watch it already. The movie may not be for everyone as it sounds like it can be disturbing, not only for the gore factor, but due to its unsettling psychological overtones of a portrait of a man who can see the difference between right and wrong but is so scarred on the inside that he can’t stop himself from the darkness contained in him. I’m hoping to watch this before I see the recent Maniac remake that stars Elijah Wood in the role that Spinnell originated.

How to watch Maniac

Maniac is currently available on Blu-ray from Blue Underground in a 35th Anniversary Edition as well as on DVD. (Buy Maniac on Blu-ray or on DVD)


To see the other entries in the 31 Days of ’80s Horror column, click here!

by Ben McBride

Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn


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