Frank 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 takes a picture of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he’s been looking for or just another mommy wanna be?

  • coldblood

    This is a combination of one of the greatest slasher and one of the creepiest and realistic serial killer movies ever made. I’m not sure why the BD guys gave it only 2 stars. It is a movie that is impossible not to be affected by; which is because it is very effective at what it does – it creeps you out, grosses you out, and makes you dread what the maniac will do next. Not a great date movie but…………

  • Ron Ferrell

    Classic slasher film that’s right up there with Henry,Nightmare(the slasher film)and The Manson Family.

  • Scurgar

    Maniac is a fantastic film. Gritty, violent and just a classic movie.

  • Butterkeuh

    as a child I saw this movie and I was pretty scared :D they should make a remake of this movie, but then again,they better keep there hands of it, because the most remakes are total bullcrap. Maniac is a true classic movie.

  • downward_spiral

    This movie was awesome. Once again great gore effects by Tom Savini who is a god by the way, and just the whole atmosphere of the movie was dark and fucked up. Great movie.

  • Boggman

    Poor Frank.

    As a child, Momma was a mean hooker who used to lock him in the closet while she turned tricks. She loved those men and their money more than she ever did her own son. How’s a sweet & innocent child to recover?

    Kill em all!! That’s how!!

    As an adult, Frank Zito now wanders the lonely streets of New York nightly, looking out for his next victim. Whether it’ a hooker, a cheating spouse, a snooty model, or just someone out and about in the late night hour, Frank’s M.O. is always the same : Kill em, Scalp em, take their head of hair home, and nail it onto one of the several female mannequins around his scummy apartment.

    Good boy Frank!

    Now Frankie doesn’t have to be lonely anymore. He has a department store full of victims around his apartment, all to himself! They will never leave, and will be kept always by Frank.

    This guy has a lot of heart, and it shows.

    Maniac isn’t the fastest paced movie, but it has some of the most awesome graphic violence that 80′s horror produced (thank you Tom Savini!). The late Joe Spinell (who also co-wrote) is simply irresistible as Frank Zito. He’s terrifying, childish, maniacal, and downright lovable as the crazed New York madman.

    Maniac is gritty, dark, horrifying, and directed in many parts as a “documentary” film, allowing the viewer to see things through Franks eyes. You feel like your right along for the ride with this fine gent!

    It’s a beauty of a horror film, one not to be forgotten after the credits roll.

  • Slaser Maniac

    One of the best Slasher Flicks. When I first saw the preview to this movie I just had to see it. the movie is filled with great kills like: a head blown off, a girl getting her scalp cut off and stabbed in the back.

  • midnightambulance

    Very gritty and nihilistic. One of VERY few movies that’s left me feeling depressed and needing a shower afterward… Which is exactly why I like it so much! Especially in the age of rock soundtracks and flashy quick-cuts, you just don’t find movies with this kind of pacing and grim atmosphere anymore.

  • randomrick

    joe spinell is the best part of this pretty decent cerial killer movie,he truely does make you see that he is a severly troubled man,not to mention gore from tom savini!good flick

  • Googopqp

    If you want a f***ed up weird slasher movie that is gory as f***, then this movie is right for your. But it is not all jsut about the gore, which is done by Tom Savini and is very well dont, it is also how you see Joe Spinell really go crazy. You get into the head of Joe’s character and it is almost disturbing to watch. Joe’s acting in this is very very good, which was a big surprise to me because this is a B movie slasher from the eighties lol, but he does/pulls off the performance better than most would have. Check out this movie if your a fan of TomSavini gore, or just balls out gore in general, I give it an 8/10!

  • Gorefetishmonkey

    Love this slasher flick. This movie took a slasher flick and pushed what haven’t been done before in a slasher film during that time. Joe Spinell was bashed quite abit about his acting in this movie but I thought he played a great maniac,I can’t see anybody else who could of done better.

  • Slasher17

    This movie was pretty good! It was a great idea for a slasher flick. But I was disappointed because, with everything I read about this movie, I expected a lot more. I thought it was going to be gory as hell and have awesome killings..but there was only 1 gory kill in this movie and it was the shotgun part..although the shotgun kill was one of the best kills I have ever seen in a movie! So, overall, pretty much everything about the movie was great, but it just needed better kills.

  • maniac cop 998

    insane the shotgun kill was amazing. there was the scalping wich was disterbing

    a very good example of a slasher film

    like my bloody valentine and the prowler

    awesome deaths
    a gory f***ed up slasher movie

    damn tom savini you amaze us again

  • ukbeast

    after finaly get’n my hands on this in the u.k i have to say i was impressed,it’s right up there with other 80s horror classics, the prowler,friday the 13 witch all contained the dark vision off tom savini,Dam that guy i true’ly belive pushed hard back then for these crazey ass moments in these pictures.o.k so some plot holes in maniac,but always stay’n true too what it is,an that is deep, dark and moody. Know time what so ever for jokes,its hardcore slasherness at it’s very best


    Maniac was a movie better than most. It was really good to have a slasher film not in the backwoods somewhere or a small town in middle america. The gore was terrific and the shotgun kill was amazing. For being made in the 80′s this movie impressed me(I love 80′s horror and this just added to it.) I think if you like slasher films this is a must have for your collection.

  • ZombieNinjaGangbang

    I love slasher films. They take us where we can’t go, or rather, where we wouldn’t dare to go. So many titles become lost in the endless sea of sub-par B-movies that it’s hard to swim through this sea and actually find one that surprises me anymore. Maniac is one of, if not the greatest slasher of all time.
    It’s rare that you get to see inside you’re average movie killer’s head. Maniac breaks rules that hadn’t even been established by the time it was made(1980). The blood and gore look great, and our killer, as viscous as he is, makes it really hard not to sympathize with him. He’s original also in the sense that he needs no mask, nor is he horribly disfigured. He’s as close to a real homicidal maniac as could be, leaving you feeling utterly disturbed by his tendencies.
    So the film is a slasher about the slasher, not the victims. No mystery and little focus on the killer’s prey. Just good, violent, bloody, disturbing, all-American fun.
    The movie was blacklisted and never submitted to the MPAA, therefore it never even received a rating. This is a genuine reflection of a genuine horror classic. It’s my opinion that no hardcore horror fan should go another day without seeing this movie, which featured Tom Savini on one of his first FX endeavors, and quite possibly one of his most famous. I don’t want to spoil it for you, I’ll just say that a 12-gauge shotgun blast at point-blank range never looked so good. Give this flick a chance, you won’t regret it.

  • Hitchhiker speed bump

    Whats amazing is Tom actually blew his own head off for the shotgun scene! He sculped it then pulled the trigger on the other end.

  • DeathbyIggy

    A great film indeed, but wayyyy to overhyped. Still it might just be that my experience with top-notch horror flicks have left me oblivious to alot of films that most people would stamp as shocking, disturbing, intense etc. I will say that this film will hook you in till the very end. Sure, they’re some really big plot holes that will leave you somewhat pissed, but only because you realize how much better this film could have been had they filled in those “obvious” blanks. The gore in this film was great for films of that time. However, do yourself a favor…unless your only watching this flick for the infamous shotgun scene… please, please, please do not try to measure up this film with any of the other gorefest horror classics of the 80′s and early 90′s. If you do, you WILL be disapointed.It still is a twisted look into the psyche of a serial killer with no remorse or even memory of what he’s doing. A good watch overall but in my opinion it feels incomplete.

  • Quint’s Machete

    Very dark flick. It really pulls you in…& in no time you’re trapped in a world of clammy cold madness!!! Some of Savini’s best work resides here!!! You’ll have a “blast” watching this one!!!

  • CountOrlok

    A seedy, dark and disturbing movie somewhat offset by it’s occasional cheesiness and the 80s-sounding score. To me, it’s the slasher version of Taxi Driver (not anywhere near as good as that classic, though). The kill/stalking scenes were all done well. I like the way the killer grunts and groans all the time and talks to himself about his mother issues. Classic psychopath. The ending was a big wtf moment that definitely gives the game away – “hey folks, this is really a cheesy slasher movie after all!”. Not as disturbing as the hype would have you believe.

  • MurderBlade

    My cousin told me about this movie, he told me about the shotgun scene and i at once had to see it, when i asked the year the movie was made he said 80′s so i was thinking about not seeing it after all because that scene might not be as cool as i thought, he told me that it was pretty good for the 80′s, i watched it and… I LOVED IT! one of the best horror movies i’ve seen

  • Guitarded

    sawwwwweeeeeeet! the gore was astounding. Spinell carried his character beautifully. what a depraved movie! (in a good way)

  • maynardmorrissey

    Amazing movie, probably the best of all 80s slashers. An uncompromising orgy of violence, gory as hell but also very suspenseful, very atmospheric – and VERY intelligent because when you look closer it’s not just a slasher, it’s the psychological profile of a tormented soul. A fabulous and outstanding cult classic!

  • MattHorror

    Excellent gore acting wasn’t bad pulls you in spits you out leaving you wanting more classic 80′s slasher film.

  • Chuckers

    I will have to say this movie actually “gripped” me the whole entire time EXCEPT for the opening scene which was really not nessesary.
    The subway chase was classic horror. If you have ever been in a subway by yourself-you understand.
    I loved the main character and how he went “in and out” of his personalities. I always have heard of this movie, when I was younger, was one of the most “blacklisted” horror movies of all time.

  • horrorbuff28

    I actually really enjoyed Maniac. Its one of those “it’s so dumb, it’s good” movies. The blood was great, the kills were amazing, the acting was not that bad, and the music was fantastic. All In All, Maniac was a fun, bloody horror movie. I recommend.

  • BK’s Finest


  • murdermakesmecum

    this is really a great movie. we have all met somebody who looks and sounds like the maniac, but Spinell’s portrayel is spot on. he looks the part with his pock marked face, over weight ass, and just the fact that he is so unattractive that he seems as though he is never, or ever could be clean. his high pitched voice, i thought, was the icing on the cake. add in the ability to turn the charm on when he wants to and we have ourselves a winner folks. i love movies that have that grainy type film quality, maybe i am just old school, but i think that it makes things seem more realistic and dirty. Savini knocks the death scenes out of the ballpark. i have seen hundreds of pics of people who have died in many different ways including gun shot wounds directly to the head, but the way Savini did the scene, and the way that it is filmed is probably as realistic as they come. ever watch the HBO documantary The Iceman tapes? i think thats what it is called, but the man that that film is about talks about how he shot somebody in the head at close range with a shotgun and describes how his head just disintegrates, literally. i think that is probably how it would go down! anyway, watch this movie if you haven’t already! i think that it is well worth the time!

  • Tico P

    Maniac is an essential film for any horror film buff, interested in the era of the so called Video Nasty. It almost got an X rating, but was released unrated. It was directed by William Lustig, staring Joe Spinnel and Caroline Munroe. Maniac is so much fun to watch, so I’ll be careful not to give it all away, but will probably get carried away again, so I have to write the usual warning below.

    Plot: Frank Zito is a schizophrenic living in a cheap apartment down town New York. Frank is also a serial murderer, spending most of his precious time stalking women/prostitutes and daydreaming about his deceased mother.
    Spending an afternoon outside in the city one day, Frank notices a beautiful woman taking his picture. He then observes a name tag on her handbag and tracks her down. Frank politely introduces himself the next day and the two start dating. Anna is a successful fashion photographer. Frank takes quite an interest in Anna, rather than stalking her being quite a gentleman.
    Frank visits Anna at a photo shoot taking interest in her work, stealing one of her models jewels. His actions are a simple excuse for the purpose of returning the jewel at the comfort of the models apartment. Frank kidnaps the model and takes her back to his place.
    Gagged and trapped in his apartment reveals a most horrifying fate. Frank has a peculiar hobby and collection of mannequins he meticulously dresses in women’s skins and scalps. He is a very delusional man with a very odd habit of sleeping with the mannequins on a daily basis. Horrified by the surrounding of mannequins and trophies, the model begs for her life. Franks comforts the model assuring “I’m not going to kill you; I’m going to keep you”. She is then stabbed, scalped and dismembered.

    Maniac is a sick twisted tale of a schizophrenic madman, psychologically deteriorating. It is full of bleak humor and decent acting. Maniac was made on a modest budget of 500.000 dollars and it does look above average for a genre film from the 1980′s. A bit of shaky hand held camera sets a fine atmosphere of unease. The aerial shots of Manhattan were leftovers from director Argento’s cutting room floor.

    The film is often considered a splatter film by some, a slasher by others. I’d have to agree with both. Special effects guru Tom Savini, worked on the convincing make up effects and even has a small cameo in the film, I refuse to reveal as most reviews do. Tom Savini is a Vietnam Veteran still in the business today, and never fails to impress with his skills. Well respected as a true artist, Savini even has a Special Effects Make-Up School in Pennsylvania. He had been in countless films in cameo roles, FROM DUSK TO DAWN, MACHETE, and even a brief appearance in ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO.

    Maniac in pretty much in the vein of the 1974 classic DERANGED directed by Alan Ormsby. Both have been heavily influenced by the true case of the notorious grave robber ED GEIN. Both films protagonists (in this case maybe antagonist) have mother complexions, and also craft fashionable body suits made of human flesh, just like the real ED GEIN.

    Actor Joe Spinell was truly devoted to this film project, believing this would be his masterpiece. He was involved in the scriptwriting and isolated himself from the outside world to get into character. There is so much to say about Mr. Spinell. He worked for director Coppola, and was even the Godfather as a hit man.

    His story is an extra bonus on the excellent double DVD released by Blue Underground. The extra is called THE JOE SPINELL STORY, and is a fascinating 80 minute documentary.
    Mr. Spinell had a sequel in the works that never was made due to his early death. But a trailer was made as “Mr. Robbie, Maniac 2″ and is on the DVD as an extra. The funniest part of the disc is being re mastered in THX sound.

    Here’s what John Stanley had to say in his Creatures Features book:
    “The movie sinks pretty low in its exploitation of schizophrenic, psychopathic bloodletting; it is so obsessed with scenes of death that director William Lustig doesn’t even bother to titillate us with nudity when he has the ample opportunity”.

    Maniac is a very graphic film that will please the gore hounds in the mood for something quite unusual and original. Director Lustig is of course in charge of the DVD company Blue Undergroud, and directed VIGILANTE and MANIAC COP.

    I wouldn’t recommend putting on Maniac if you’ve just been dumped. But on second thoughts it could be therapeutic if your a male suffering a dreadful heart ache…

  • LoneWolfx

    Classic enough said.

  • Midnitekrawlr

    A brutal masterpiece that paints the city red! A kick-@ss flick on levels!

  • Slasher Diva

    “Maniac” is one of those movies that make me want to take a bath after I watch it because I feel gritty.
    That in itself tells me it was a highly effective realistically sick movie and did what it set out to do.
    Joe Spinell is so good in this role that I sometimes wondered if he wrestled with the same demons his character “Frank” did. .He was so tragic in his psychotic confusion you almost felt pity for him.This film made me scared to go into a public ladies room for weeks after I saw it, much like Jaws and the water and Psycho and the shower. Of course Tom Savini is the master of gore in my opinion and he doesn’t disappoint in this film, is it gratuitous? Sure it is, isn’t that why we watch a slasher or horror film to be shocked or scared ? Of course it is.
    Maniac is so scary and effective because it could really happen, There are really Franks “Spinell’s character” out there . “SHUDDER”

  • thewolfmancometh

    I saw this movie randomly on VHS despite having never heard of it before, and I knew it would be a movie I’d never forget. This movie captured a specific time and place in American history that will probably never exist again. The city of New York is as much of a character as any of the actors are, but still isn’t as entertaining as Joe Spinell. He is the reason that parents are scared for their daughters. Thinking that this “maniac” could be somewhere, out there, anywhere, waiting for a girl to be vulnerable will haunt anyone who knows a prett girl forever. More information here:

  • MattSlash

    To say that this movie is disturbing would be an understatement. It is filled with graphic violence against women which is an common and predictable theme in most early slasher films and in general. It has similar qualities and atmosphere from the movie Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer but less realistic and more gory but equally as chilling. There was a somewhat of a story behing the killer and why he became what he is but the deliverey of it wasn’t that effective and all of the victims were cardboard cut outs so you really didn’t care or root for anyone but just rolled your eyes in disgust but some of the chase and stalk scenes were suspenseful and filled with dread and a couple of jump scares here and there that got me but other than that this movie is pretty paper thin when it came to story and character developement and it was simply made for the gore alone which is the best thing about this film thanks to horror legend Tom Savani. The acting to me was weak but not awful but the one thing that makes this film somewhat memorable was the wickedly gory and disturbing climax which now helps me understand why it hit cult status and is easily one of the creepiest scene involving mannequins since Tourist Trap and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Overall if you like your slashers gory, unappologetic, strange, fast pace and disturbing and trashy this one is for you. 5.7 out of 10

  • The Devil’s Reject

    this is a GREAT movie, by far the best “slasher” film and the Savini effects as always are just the best.


  • Syvertsen1

    The late 70′s and early 80′s were a fabulous time for horror cinema. The advent of the direct to video feature added a layer to the industry that hadn’t existed before. Pictures with limited funding or genre appeal were no longer constrained to midnight showing at grind house cinemas across the countries major metropolitan eras. As videos began to be circulated, certain films from the era, films that were well made, well acted and well produced but represented a certain counter culture in film making began to gain momentum and became part of a wave of underground cinema that made a statement. movies that may appear to be pretty fucked up on the surface, but still said something beneath the gore. “Maniac” is one of the shining examples from this time period.

    read more @

  • BabyJaneHudson

    Watched this right after Black Christmas, so I feel like my view might be skewed, especially since both involve crazy guys killing young women. The effects are over the top and surprisingly good – especially the one scalping. Frank’s character is interesting, but pretty simplistic. I didn’t find it disturbing, but I wasn’t really drawn in – I couldn’t quite take Frank seriously. Overall the level of acting is nothing to write home about, although there is an effort to fill out the characters. I wanted to see it because its a classic, but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting it.