THE FILM: Maniac
As far as horror films go, it doesn’t get as grotesque, unpleasant, perverse, and seedy as “Maniac.” Joe Spinell, from “The Godfather” and “Taxi Driver,” plays Frank Zito, who is traumatized by the memories of abuse by his mother, who he pretends to speak to despite her being dead. In his apartment he dresses up mannequins as the women he has murdered, using their scalps as the finishing touch. While not being psychologically deep, it is interesting to watch a film entirely from this perspective, learning as to what makes this guy tick. The film asks, “what makes a man a monster?” Well, it turns out it’s a lot of abuse, as weak an argument as that may be. The real star of the film, however, is Tom Savini, who has a cameo as a womanizer who gets his head blow off in the standout scene of enthusiastically unbridled ultraviolence. The second half of the film introduces a romantic interest for good ‘ol Frankie, which takes a turn for the worst and leads to a very memorable ending.