Film / Maniac

I warned you not to go out tonight.

A horror film from 1980. It was directed by William Lustig (Maniac Cop, Uncle Sam) and stars Joe Spinell in the title role.

It follows the exploits of the woman-hating and mommy issues-ridden psychopath Frank Zito, who wanders the streets of The Big Rotten Apple from one brutal kill to the next, breathing heavily and babbling incoherently all the while.

The film's effects were provided by Tom Savini, which includes the infamous "Disco Boy Scene" where a man's head explodes from a close range shotgun blast.

The film also has the dubious honor of being one of three movies the late Gene Siskel had ever walked out on.

The year 2012 was treated to a remake that was produced and written by Alexandre Aja and which had Elijah Wood star as the title character. It is mostly the same story, but with the twist that almost the entire film is shot from a first-person perspective. It also incorporates online dating.

Tropes in the film:

  • Affably Evil: Despite being a psychotic Serial Killer who murders women for their scalps, Frank is a really nice guy when he's not sitting in his room rambling.
  • All in the Eyes: Used when Frank wakes up, Catapult Nightmare-style, and light is shining on his eyes.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Frank sees his hand being chopped off in his last hallucination.
  • Bedmate Reveal: When Franks gets up from his bed, the audience is shown that the corpse of his latest victim is laying next to him.
  • Big Word Shout: "MOTHEEEEEEER!!!"
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Disco Girl gets covered with Disco Boy's blood when Frank shoots him.
  • Boom, Headshot: Disco Boy's death, courtesy of a double-barrel shotgun blast by Frank.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Frank addresses the viewers at one point. But hey, he's just crazy.
  • Bullet Time: Used when Frank shoots Disco Boy and when he attacks one of the Anna's photograph models.
  • Camping a Crapper: Frank chases a nurse into a subway restroom and kills her there.
  • Creepy Doll: Various mannequins which wear scalps from Frank's victims that he keeps around his apartment.
  • Death by Adaptation: Anna in The Remake.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Frank's second on-screen victim is a hooker whom he picks up from the streets, and proceeds to strangle in bed.
  • Freudian Excuse: Frank's mother was a prostitute who beat him and would lock him in the closet when she was with her johns. That would certainly explain his awkwardness around the fairer sex, as well as why he kills women that remind him of her.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Frank visits his mother's grave near the end.
  • Hallucinations: Frank starts having these when Anna hurts him at the funeral.
  • Make-Out Point: Disco Boy and Disco Girl drive into one near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for some Auto Erotica. Unfortunately, they were followed by Frank.
  • Missing Mom: Frank misses his mother, despite the horrible abuse she put him through.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Frank hallucinates being ripped apart by his own mannequins (on which he placed the scalps of his victims) in both versions of the film.
  • No Name Given: Most of the characters.
  • No-Tell Motel: Frank takes the hooker whom he intends to kill into a establishment like this.
  • Off with His Head!: Frank's final hallucination has his mannequins come to life and ripping his head off.
  • One-Word Title: Which describes the Ax-Crazy Frank.
  • The Remake: The unmade sequel was apparently going to be a remake of the 1975 film The Psychopath. And of course, there's the remake of the original.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Frank has a hallucination at the graveyard of his mother's maggot ridden corpse rising from the grave and grabbing him.
  • Senseless Violins: Frank carries his shotgun in a violin case.
  • Shovel Strike: Anna attacks Frank with a shovel when he is chasing her in the cemetery.
  • Sinister Subway: Frank follows one one of his victims hrough one.
  • Slashed Throat: Frank does this to his first on-screen victim (whom he finds on the beach waiting for her boyfriend) with a razor blade.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Last Horror Film, which features Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell in nigh-identical roles.
  • Stalker Shrine: There's one for Frank's mother, that's right next to his bed.
  • Villain Protagonist: The film follows Frank point of view.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Frank who is pitiable despite the utter viciousness of his murders. Couple that with his Freudian Excuse and his very poor grip on reality and he's little more than a lonely momma's boy with a miserable life.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Disco Boy's head explodes thanks to a shotgun blast.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Disco Girl attempts to cheat her boyfriend with Disco Boy at the Make-Out Point. Frank then arrives and kills them both.

The remake has examples of: