Macabre...ish Horror Review: Maniac



Maniac, 1980/ 88 min.


Frank Zito is a serial killer.  He believes beauty to be a crime punishable by death. This is an unfortunate side effect of abuse suffered and endured by the hands of his mother. He kills everyone but only keeps trophies from young women, their scalps. These he nails to mannequin heads. His collection, he keeps in his cramped purple apartment, creepily filled with dolls and candles.


He hunts women by combing Queens and Brooklyn area, carrying a crazy mishmash of weapons from double barreled shotgun to bayonet in an instrument case. Anyone is fair game if she’s a beauty. He also seems really broken up about killing these women.


Aside from being a murderer, Frank has other issues, he cries himself to sleep at night, has hallucinations of his decomposing mother attacking him, plus some kind of weird relationship with his mannequins. And at one point, they appear to come to life. He seems to transfer his mother issues onto his victims as well as his mannequins.


This is a psychological horror and pretty graphic and gory. This movie creeps me out. More the cinematography than anything, it’s bleak. And between his weird moaning and the suspenseful music, it’s unnerving. There are also some jump scares.