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Joe Spinell, who appeared in Taxi Driver, stars in this unsavory horror film as Frank Zito, a character reminiscent of an even more disturbed Travis Bickle. Frank is an embittered loser who talks to himself and his dead mother, stalks a pretty model (Caroline Munro), and spends his spare time brutally murdering women. He then scalps his victims and puts the trophies on mannequins which he takes to bed with him at night. An unpleasant film with a relentlessly downbeat tone, Maniac! features graphic, bloody special-effects makeup by cult favorite Tom Savini, who meets a gruesome end in a cameo… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"the film about Travis Bickle that Travis Bickle would have made"
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"A formidable New York grunge-flick through and through"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"An unapologetically twisted study in pathological murderousness."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"Best described as the diametric opposite of a refreshing shower, William Lustig's Maniac has long been reviled as one of horror's truly ugly films."
‑ Scott Weinberg, Apollo Guide
"Today's horror movies barely register once the credits stop rolling, but not so Maniac."
‑ Alexandra Cavallo, Boston Phoenix
"It's a surefire memorable horror film with a horrifying glimpse into the mind of a merciless killer."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"This old chestnut from 1980 is worth revisiting for fans of the nouveau 'old skool' horror films of today."
‑ Staci Layne Wilson,
"too good to be dismissed as simple exploitation, but also too inept in too many ways to be taken seriously"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
" underwhelming, uninvolving product of its time that simply possesses no relevance in 2010."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Seen today, the movie has more in common with the grungy Times Square aesthetic of Abel Ferrara than with the multitudes of slasher flicks that followed it."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"Distasteful on every level and none to coherent either."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Maniac! on Rotten Tomatoes