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I warned you not to go out tonight!

  • May 18, 2009
Maniac was Joe Spinell's attempt to emulate his idol and friend Sylvester Stallone and make a movie in a similar vein as Rocky. He was proud to produce a movie that would have his name in the title (Joe Spinell's Maniac). He even co-wrote the screenplay and was one of the executive producers on the film. Joe Spinell stars as the title character. He portrays a psychopath who has a haunted past. Unable to control his homicidal tendencies, he walks the streets looking for victims. When he's not hunting women, he organizes the trophies that he takes away from his victims in art pieces. One day whilst stalking a woman, he meets a fashion photographer whom he befriends. But since he's a nut job and he can't control himself, the fashion photographer (Caroline Munro) soon witnesses first hand how crazy of a person he is and flees from his grasp. Frustrated and licking his wounds, he goes back home and all of his past victims come back to life and rip him apart like a pack of wild dogs. All of his screaming and carrying on alert the police. When they come into his hovel, they spot him alone. He was a victim of his own hands.

Joe Spinell put everything into this movie. He imagined that this movie would be a huge box office success. The director William Lustig managed to hire Tom Savini to do the special effects. Savini did an excellent job in designing some of the most realistic gory set pieces in this movie. William Lustig himself also has to be commended for making a film like this on a small budget with his unique style of directing. This movie is about as far from mainstream film making as you can get. The film is catered for the midnight movie crowds and not everyone will enjoy this interesting film. This was Joe Spinell's labor of love. A few years later he tried to make a sequel but due to financial problems and Spinell's grave health issues, it never got past a short promo reel that was made to attract investors. Check out The Last Horror Film. It's a sequel of sorts featuring Joe Spinell. Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell's mom!

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May 19, 2009
Excellent film! I love Maniac! Thank you for writing this review! Thumbs up!
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Joseph Ulibas ()
Ranked #32
I have been working on my web series Fine Feather Friends.
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About this movie


A sequel was planned but only several minutes of promo footage was shot to attract investors.  The film was never completed because the star and producer Joe Spinell died during pre-production.

The song Maniac (used in Flashdance) was inspired by this movie.

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Director: William Lustig
Genre: Horror, Drama
Release Date: December 26, 1980
MPAA Rating: R, Unrated
Screen Writer: Joe Spinell
Runtime: 91 minutes 87 minutes
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