Another all-but-forgotten drive in gem of early 80s trash cinema. Maniac has no redeeming qualities, taste, or message to get across to you......and frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. The movie's nothing more than a series of gruesome murders committed by our "maniac". Even though this is true, you can't help but think as you watch this that there are many similar "Frank Zito's" prowling the streets in cities all over the world. It may not be a true story, but ironically, it's all too true. The movie was trashed by the media and feminist groups upon it's release(the dvd even has a feature called "Gallery Of Outrage" where you can read all of the negative press clippings of this film. A fantastic bonus feature.)for it's depictions of violence against women(I guess no one cared about the poor schmuck who gets his head blown off, which is clearly the most gruesome image in the film). This always gives me a chuckle, coz it gives the film some major publicity and free advertising that most directors could only dream of. I was too young when this came out, but I remember a similar uproar when Silent Night, Deadly Night hit theaters around Christmas time. And I'll tell ya, all it made me want to do is see it more. Sure, Maniac is gory and violent, but I've seen much worse. And if you're a horror fan, I'm sure you have too. One big reason I enjoyed this was Spinnell's convincing performance. These days, serial killers in film are always sly, sophisticated, almost classy(like Silence Of The Lambs and Seven, etc.). Frank Zito is what I imagine most serial killers to be like: Lonely, scummy, pathetic. Spinnell's performance makes this very believable. Yes, this film is ugly, gruesome, depressing, disturbing.....but how else should a serial killer be portrayed?