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by Mark Burger

Manic (Blue Underground)

A 30 th anniversary edition of director William Lustig’s infamous, squalid 1980 shocker focusing on one Frank Zito (Joe Spinell), a murderous mama’s boy who goes on a bloodthirsty rampage through the streets of New York City.

Taking its cue — and more — from the slasher era in which it was made, Maniac lives up to its title, as its twisted protagonist stalks, slays and scalps the women he stalks. As vile and reprehensible as its reputation attests, there is nonetheless a ragged, crazed power to the performance of cult icon Spinell (also the film’s co-executive producer and co-screenwriter), and the gruesome make-up effects by Tom Savini (who gets his head blown off) make this an absolutely no-no for the faint of heart.

Caroline Munro adds a (rare) note of class as the fashion photographer Zito fixates on, but this is a tour de force — so to speak — for Spinell, whose own off-screen personality was quirky, to say the very least. Maniac isn’t a very good movie, but it unmistakably makes an impact… for those who can take it.

The special-edition DVD retails for $24.98, the specialedition Blu-ray for $34.98. Blue Underground is also releasing the unrated director’s cut of Lustig’s Vigilante (1983), in which Spinell also appears, on Blu-ray ($29.98 retail).

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