Monday, November 4, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- Maniac

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

We end our Halloween weekend blowout, here at Horror Camp, by screening the newest, and by far the most provocative title in our new releases section at the video store, Maniac. A remake of the classic slasher film from the 80’s bearing the same title. Maniac is a cinematic tour de force that will make you think twice about walking the streets alone at night. Set to a rippingly awesome soundtrack , inspired by 80’s synth pop, and told from the point of view of the serial killer, it offers a ground-breaking view of the life of the deranged.

Earlier over the weekend, I had reviewed 2 other films, VHS2 and No One Lives, and had some issues with over-use of first person POV and audience friendly serial killers. Maniac doesn’t suffer from these issues. Although told from first person POV, it’s not as “all over the place” like VHS2, which tends to make audiences queasy. As far as an audience friendly serial killer, Maniac has no delusions about what it is. Although you feel sympathy for the plight of the protagonist ( I don’t know what else to call him), you quickly realize he is not fit to exist within the confines of society.

The maniac Frank, is played masterfully by ElijahWood. Before I hear any public outcry about the dude from Lord of the Rings playing such a disturbing role, let me remind you that he had no problem playing the creepy cannibal in Sin City, and was quite effective at that role as well. The best thing about Elijah Wood, as an actor, is the fact that he is so unassuming. He oozes boyish charm, so much so, you would never find him threatening. It makes it so much more spine chilling to hear him say such blatantly creepy things as he stalks and follows his victims, complete with heavy breathing and perverse comments about his victim’s beauty.

A young maniac in training.

Without revealing too much, because you should really go out and view this movie on your own, Frank’s backstory is that of your typical deranged psychopath. Complete with complications involving sexuality, misdirected feeling of violence to members of the opposite sex, and Mommy issues, Frank has got it all. Frank suffers from migraines and without medication will begin to openly and vividly hallucinate in the world around him, he is not right in the head. By day Frank spends his time with his passion, restoring vintage mannequins, by night he pursues other interests altogether, mostly revolving around being a monster and collecting trophies from his victims.

A grown man working with mannequins. No, that doesn't set off any alarms.

At one point in the movie Frank meets Anna, an aspiring artist/photographer. Her interests in her art focus upon mannequins as well, giving life to inanimate objects, as she likes to call it. Coincidentally in a way Frank also does the same thing, so they have a lot in common. Frank is torn by his growing desire for Anna, and his need to be a maniacal lunatic. It all comes together in a twisted finale that doesn’t disappoint.

I liked this movie for it’s realistic and spine tingling depiction of a truly terrifying subject matter. There is absolutely no sugar-coating around it. Maniac is raw and visceral, something other horror movies should take note of. I can understand how this movie may be disliked by most viewers, because it’s just too realistic. But don’t discount it on that merit alone, Maniac is gorgeous and cinematic and should be watched with someone else somewhere in the house, because man that sort of thing is just way too creepy.

So this wraps up our Halloween Horror extravaganza. It’s been fun watching the latest Horror has to offer, and I hope some of these reviews might convince you to check out some of these titles. Nothing I’ve reviewed this weekend left me feeling like I wanted a refund and the overall experience has been thoroughly enjoyable. Until next year when we get our hands on some hi-def projection equipment once again,  have a Happy Holiday and Horrific Viewings from your Head Counselor, signing off.

Tags: Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Serial Killers, 

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