Maniac (1934) - Rotten Tomatoes

Maniac (1934)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

One of the early examples of exploitation films, Maniac is much more risqué than its 1934 release date would suppose. After accidentally killing a mad scientist intent on resurrection of the dead (Horace Carpenter), a vaudeville reject (Bill Woods) assumes the man's identity and, eventually, his psychotic persona as well. What follows is literally a textbook case of demented behavior--with titles to explain the varying psychoses actually included in the film.more
Rating: R
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Allan Poe IV, Hildagarde Esper, Hildegarde Stadie
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 19, 2002

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Bill Woods
as Don Maxwell
Horace B. Carpenter
as Dr. Meirschultz
Ted Edwards
as Buckley
Phyllis Diller
as Mrs. Buckley
Thea Ramsey
as Alice Maxwell
John P. Wade
as Mike, Morgue Attend...
Phyllis Diller
as Mrs. Buckley
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Maniac

Critic Reviews for Maniac

All Critics (9)

A truly wretched film that I enjoyed, partly because of and partly in spite of its excessive excrescence.

Full Review… | October 17, 2011
Goatdog's Movies

A true trash masterpiece.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

Dwain Esper's stupefying parody

Full Review… | March 13, 2010

It's a campy shocker that is so bad that it might just appeal for that very undeniable reason.

Full Review… | January 7, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's impressive how every new player brings their own bad acting technique to the picture

Full Review… | February 24, 2003

Whoa! Even seeing it isn't believing!

December 1, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Maniac


The earliest example of a trashy horror/exploitation flick. This movie, like 'Plan 9 from Outer Space', is so bad that it is rather good. The acting is hilariously over-the-top, the 'educational' slides for mental illness are weirdly phrased, and plenty of entertainingly surreal moments (like a scene where the scientist eats a cat's eye). A truly outrageous schlocky horror flick that is worth seeing because of how consistently laughable it is throughout.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Sometimes I liked this movie, and sometimes I hated this movie. First of all, I love cats! Second, this movie is really outrageous, over the top, and somewhat funny, and that's what I liked about it. Third, this movie feels like an experimental film at times, for example, the superimposed devils. I didn't like the experimental feel it had, it could have been a great horror movie, but it tries too hard to define what the word maniac means, it even quotes experts. It's an interesting movie to watch, but I don't recommend it.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


An on-the-lam vaudevillian kills and impersonates his mad scientist employer and is suddenly afflicted by every psychosis in the book, which leads him to accidentally create an orangutan-man rapist, eat cat eyeballs, and lock women in his basement to fight with syringes. 1934 audiences looking for sleaziness had their appetite sated by the shocks and pre-Code nudity, but today it's admired for the deranged performances and the insane inventiveness of the plot; the result is a jaw-dropping oddity that must be seen to be believed.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

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