The story of a maniac who kills women and collects their hair. While the police don`t seem to have any leads, he must fight against himself -- two conflicting personalities that can`t decide whether it is better to love or to kill.
This is director William Lustig`s masterpiece. He seems to have an obsession with "Maniac" films (he later made "Maniac Cop", "Maniac Cop II" and "Maniac Cop III") but this is really the only one that is in nay way a true horror film with any sort of disturbing imagery. Did Lustig go soft after he finished this film, or just fall under the spell of Sam Raimi?
"Maniac" is what I would call the Hollywood version of "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer". Unlike most stalker or slasher films, we don`t follow the victims so much as we follow the killer, giving him a human side that makes him all the more real and terrifying. While there`s no forgiving a man who wantonly murders, we can`t help but pity him on some level for his mental illness. This is what separates Henry or Maniac from Jason Voorhees.
The Tom Savini headshot was also very nice. Many of the scenes are quite memorable (such as the prostitute who is killed without even having her clothes removed), but I think the forceful elimination of Savini really takes the cake. It`s not on the level of say "Scanners" but it definitely will get you a little excited.
I think this movie is well worth seeing. I think it was one of those films that was supposed to be too graphic for the average viewer, and there certainly is a level of nastiness to it. But nothing a good horror buff won`t find enjoyable. And if at first you`re unsure, keep watching -- the second half really outdoes the first by a mile!