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Maniac: 1 out of 10: Mad scientist and a vaudevillian actor raise people from the dead, torture animals and rape woman in this Iï¿ 1/2 1/2(TM)m guessing pre-code film what with all the nudity, rape, murder, and animal torture.
The Good: There are educational title cards that seem to pop up at random and are quite interesting about the state of mental illness in the mid-thirties.
The Bad: The actingï¿ 1/2 1/2 good lord the acting, Look I have complained about modern films where the actors mistakenly think they are on stage as they ham it up but this takes it to another level. These guys are not playing to the back row of the theater. They are playing to the building across the street. There are also bits that were clearly filmed at a different time and with different actors and doing a completely different story and one can only assume for a completely different film that pad out the proceeds to an hour running time.
I know the film is from 1934 and is low budget and talkies hadnï¿ 1/2 1/2(TM)t been around a long time at this point but Maniac can often resemble a silent film. There are entire scenes where no dialogue or environmental sounds can be heard and the film occasional relies on title cards to move the story.
The Ugly: Look we can all expect nudity, rape, and necrophilia in an old movie. After all, it was the 1930ï¿ 1/2 1/2(TM)s during a depression. People were different back then. But cat torture in a film is simply not allowed (Exception Monthy Python and the Holy Grail). This film has a weird anti-cat stance including an interview with a guy raising cats for fur which, like half the other scenes in Maniac, has nothing to do with the rest of the plot.
In Conclusion: Setting aside the disturbing treatment of Mr. Snuggles this is not a well-made film. It is a curiosity I will grant you. The bad acting and weird segues are amazing in a what the hell kind of way and the nudity is surprisingly in what otherwise resembles a Bela Lugosi poverty row quickie.
Rifftrax Version of Maniac: 9 out of 10: Wow, once again the worse the material the more on point Rifftrax can be. There admittedly is a lot to work with here but they throw a lot of strikes, pick up the spares, and leave nothing on the table. (If they ever read this I can hear the groans at the mixed metaphors). Anyway, great job by them and if you are going to watch this (Or for that matter 1980ï¿ 1/2 1/2(TM)s Maniac with Joe Spinell) Rifftrax is the way to go.
Maniac is something that you really want to like but just can't.
So stupid lol thank god I watched the riffed version
so incredibly bad that it's a must-watch
A really odd film. It's sick, twisted, yet poor and rather bad. For a 30's film though, it does have some pretty shocking scenes. The characters are almost laughable, and the plot is a jumbled mess. Somewhat fun, somewhat interesting, but way too much exploitation for its time.
Loosely based on the Edgar Allen Poe short 'The Black Cat', this is the tale of a vaudeville impersonator rescued by a mad scientist who kills his benefactor and carries out experiments of his own. Tracing different sorts of manias and insanities, this film is so bizarre that it enjoys some popularity with its reputation as one of the worst films ever made, in the true style of Dwain Esper films/
Terrible acting, terrible music, terrible everything. Very enjoyable film.
I hoped this short feature would be "fun," but it's just a creaky, horribly acted "Frankenstein" ripoff with a barely coherent script. Pretty girls wearing lingerie or less (pre-Hays Code nudity is always a kick) turn up for no reason beyond titillation, while stylistic quirks include multiple-image "daydreams" and academic title cards describing a character's evident mental illnesses. Ed Wood films are more entertaining and aren't burdened with unpleasant cruelty to cats.
I believe "Maniac" is 51 minutes long, rather than 67 minutes as cited above.
Puzzling thriller come horror which is visually appealing but doesn't make much sense. Hideously overrated by RT, it's an interesting pre censorship piece but little more.
I'm not sure the version I saw was this version, but what ever I saw was freaking HILARIOUS!