Return of the 31 Days of Our Favorite Horror – Maniac (’12)

maniac

Maniac (2012) Dir. Franck Khalfoun

This is a movie that I watched with a group of friends who were not familiar, as I was, with the original 1980 movie starring Joe Spinnell and directed by William Lustig. Now, it’d been years since I had seen the cult classic original, but I had a basic recall of the beats of the plot: dude with mental illness and some form of psychosis goes hunting on the streets of New York city.

Knowing that Elijah Wood had been recast as the aforementioned serial killer, I went into the venture with a sense of curiosity and near defiance for the film to dare to entertain me.

Full disclosure: I still haven’t finished watching this movie. My inability to finish watching the movie is not based out of disgust for the material, as I have seen much worse in the recesses of the surface net, read plenty of descriptions of the Deep Web, and even spent too much time on YouTube, Reddit, and LiveLeak to have a weak stomach for brutality. And this movie is rather brutal and frank in its depictions of violence against women, and everyone in general, so I do find a certain level of disgust because of just how violent some sequences are.

The main reason that I was unable to finish watching and have not followed up since is that I was bored. The violence was shocking at first, then became increasingly gratuitous and for me, ultimately disengaging from the main narrative.  Like, I get it, this dude is broken. His sex worker mom really fucked up his mind and may have actually fucked him. But there was a point to where I just didn’t care to find out how the narrative eventually resolved. And yeah, the abhorrent acts against women kinda-really got under my skin. I know that was part of the point, but the lengths taken to get to that point seemed a bit excessive. I have since read online about the ending, and it seemed on par with the kind of cuckoo-banana-bonkers shit that was happening the entire length of the movie, the parts that I watched.

I will say that Elijah Wood was rather effective as Frank Zito, the aforementioned psycho serial killer, and perhaps he was a bit too good at time, as he really skeeved me out. But I will say that the score was also rather good as it harkened back to the synth-driven scores of 80’s slasher and exploitation movies of its day. I mean, I’ll probably go back and watch the rest of the movie, just because I am someone who usually completes what I start, however long it may take me to do so. But right now it’s just not that interesting enough for me to go back.

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