Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Maniac

(1934) ***1/2



Our resident Horrorthon psychologists JPX, AC and Mr. AC would surely get a kick out of this really, really old exploitation film. The movie pretends to be educating the audience about mental illness but it’s really just an excuse to be as trashy as possible. Every few minutes they’ll flash a little lesson about insanity onscreen before returning to the positively ludicrous plot.

The story centers around Don Maxwell, a failed actor who gets mixed up with a mad scientist obsessed with reanimating the dead. When the scientist asks him to kill himself so that he may experiment on his body, he does what any one of us would do - he shoots the doctor and assumes his identity. Throughout the film Don becomes more and more insane. I originally flirted with the idea of focusing on descent-to-madness flicks this year and this was where my research led.  

Clearly they were still struggling with the transition from silent movies to talkies when they put this together and the result is a hilarious and epically over-emoted piece of work. To help illustrate the crazy they include a lot of old footage of devils from earlier silent movies. It worked and I loved it!

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of the oldest nude scenes I have ever encountered. To be honest I didn’t know they even had boobs in the 1930’s. Until now I have lived under the assumption that they were invented in the late 50’s by Roger Corman.

I highly recommend this one and it shouldn’t be too difficult to track down as it’s in the public domain.

6 comments:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

JPX - after I returned this one I realized it's included on one of those horror 50 packs. Check it out, post-thon if need be!

Catfreeek said...

You have such an obsession with devils and robed devil worshippers.

Crystal Math said...

From the sound of you giggling I could tell it was enjoyable.

AC said...

sounds like a must-see!

Octopunk said...

"Clearly they were still struggling with the transition from silent movies to talkies when they put this together and the result is a hilarious and epically over-emoted piece of work."

This always cracks me up about early film (see the short that JPX posted today). They haven't completely let go of the idea that they're merely recording stage plays, and it seems like they pack in extra emotion so it keeps while frozen.

Excellent review.

DCD said...

This review cracked me up! Nice one, JSP!