The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

MANIAC (1963) **

Hammer Studios is famous for all of their classic reinventions of the Dracula and Frankenstein legends in the 50’s and 60’s but they also produced forgettable Psycho rip-offs too.  This one is all about a newly single American painter played by Kerwin (The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad) Matthews, who goes to a small village in France for a little painting action.  He stays at an inn ran by a hottie MILF who seduces him and eventually convinces him to help her spring her husband from the looney bin.  Of course she neglects to tell Kerwin that her hubby likes to wear a welding mask and blowtorch people to death (think a low rent version of the Exterminator). 


There are a lot of twists and turns during the final half hour of the film.  Some of them are predictable, others are not.  While Maniac may offer a genuine surprise or two, the trouble with the flick is that none of the characters are remotely likable, so it’s pretty hard to care once the plot starts to cook. 


Director Michael (Prehistoric Women) Carreras offers up one or two atmospheric moments, most of which involves the “Acetylene Murderer” doing what he does best with a blowtorch.  Since this is a black and white movie from ’63, we don’t get to see all gory details though. 


Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster also wrote the similarly themed Paranoiac the same year for Hammer. 

Tags: hammer, horror, m
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