Back with a familiar feel this week. This weeks movie felt like we were back on our Beyond Nasty challenge again. Is that a bad or good thing I hear you ask? Well, neither kinda..... this is one of those films that pass an hour and a half and you don't think its bad enough to slate, but at the same time you're left feeling kinda 'meh' about it. I don't want to be too unkind about this movie as it actually wasn't too bad, but I can't help but feel Joe Spinnell is more deserving of better material... unfortunate that he actually wrote 'Maniac'.
So our premis here is a middle aged, chunky, single man (Frank) living in New York. Its shown pretty much from the getgo that he's a bit of a freak. We are shown that he murders young women, scalps them and then places the scalp on a mannequins in his appartment. He has several mannequins, obviously hinting that he is a seasoned serial killer. After several nights of sleeping with his new scalp adorned mannequins. He goes out to find a new victim.
We are also made aware that he has a bit of a mother complex. His mum was a nasty piece of work who died in a car accident. Frank isn't quite ready to accept mummy dearest has gone so he seems to think each of the mannequins IS his mother, having full, allbeit one-sided conversations with her.
We only deviate from his normal routine when a young photographer (Anna) takes his photo in the park. He finds out where she lives and goes to her appartment. Recognising him as the man she photographed, she lets them in... The women in these movies really do need a few safety & security lessons it seems. Although he plans to murder her, he is impressed by her talent and ends up taking her out for dinner.
When visiting her at one of her photo shoots, he is rather taken by a young model she is photographing. He steals a necklace belonging to her, so he can return it later, giving him an excuse to go to her house. This young lady needs to attend the same safety classes as Anna, as she opens the door to this complete stranger. He of course gains access to her appartment, kidnaps her and takes her home. She meets the same fate as all the other ladies, proving meeting Anna has not changed Frank at all.
The movie takes a bit of a quite spiral downwards after this point. We see Frank and Anna going to the graveyard to visit Franks mothers grave. He tries to kill Anna and ends up hallucinating, seeing his dead mother.
We go back to the appartment and he dreams of all his mannequins coming to life as the women that he murdered and piling on top of him before ripping his head off. I was a bit unsure as to whether this was happening, but given he is seen laying on the bed bleeding from what seems to be a suicide attempt in the next scene, I am guessing he was dreaming or hallucinating.
In the final scene, 2 policemen enter his appartment, see his collection of mannequins and him laying on the bed bleeding. Why they imagine him to be dead without checking, who knows.... they leave and Franks eyes snap open. End Movie.
So what did I think? Good points - One thing I would give mention to was certain special effects.... Tom Savini makes a short appearance, making out with a young woman in a car. Frank blows his head off at close range with a shotgun. Quite impressive effects there. Also good blood throughout. A close-up of the first scalping is also believable.
It wasn't a BAD movie, but it certainly wasn't a good one. I thought Joe Spinnell was excellent as Frank, but the movie in itself was just something we've seen 100 times before. Its not something I would recommend someone rush out and see, but I would probably suggest they check out the head explosion scene.