Note: We have already published and reworked the following article in a similar form because Maniac will soon disappear from Netflix.

In addition to the story about a serial killer, Maniac resurrects a New York of the 70s and 80s, with cold nights, lonely streets, filthy public toilets or sparse hotel rooms chilling juggernaut appears.

William Lustig’s film, which was indexed in Germany until 2020, is now Uncut approved for ages 18+ been. In the early 80s, the film was not given an age rating in Great Britain, even though it was severely edited, after which the distributor still brought it to cinemas. This procedure even triggered police operations where copies of the film were confiscated.

You can subscribe to the brutal horror film on Netflix right now, but not for much longer. maniac is until November 30th on Netflix available.

The brutal horror in Maniac also paints a portrait of a lonely, lost soul

Lustig’s film is about the outsider Frank Zito (Joe Spinell), who, after a childhood trauma, lives alone in his apartment surrounded by mannequins with whom he talks. At night he is up to mischief in the big city as a serial killer and stalks young women whom he eventually brutally murders and mutilated. One day he falls in love with the photographer Anna (Caroline Munro), with whom he imagines a better life.

Through the hauntingly oppressive performance of lead actor Joe Spinell and the extremely harsh murder scenes, “refined” by horror special effects master Tom Savini, Maniac creates an extremely uncomfortable atmosphere. Particularly memorable is a headshot with a shotgun, which has seldom been seen so badly.


In addition to the explicit killing sequences, the director increasingly draws his protagonist as a tragic character. With no help from those around him, Frank is doomed to fall back into his accustomed, corrupted pattern over and over again, killing people each time.

Due to the cold, dirty atmosphere of New York at that time, Maniac works as well mangy exploitation slasher as a deeply sad character study of a lost, broken soul that perishes from its loneliness.

The 10 best films coming to Netflix and Co. in 2022

Before the streaming year ends, we bring you another 10 upcoming titles we’re most excited about in 2022.

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In this installment of the Moviepilot podcast Stream Gefluer we talk about Guillermo del Toro’s dark new version of Pinocchio, the Will Smith comeback Emancipation, the Knives Out sequel Glass Onion with Daniel Craig and the horror hype Barbarian, among others.

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