Occasionally, a genre film will attract the attention of a mainstream audience in an “unexpected way”. Maniac premiered in New York City on January 30, 1981, playing to packed audiences on 42nd street, a group well-versed in the exploitation cinema of the 1970s and early 80s. But when the film started to open in other markets around the country, the film received the type of negative publicity that was rare for the time period, with protesters picketing theaters which screened the film for its portrayal of graphic violence, especially towards women. Many critics and film historians point to Maniac as the last gasp for the slasher sub-genre, before increased scrutiny from censors and concerned civic groups curtailed the production of and marketing ability of filmmakers to produce stories like Maniac. Since then, Maniac has been given a second-life as one of the truly controversial films of the decade, yet it has also become a touchstone for modern critics, who continue to fall on either side of the argument.
While remake news is always destined to trigger mixed reactions due to fan investment in the original production, this particular project has a lot going for it. Comic book writer turned screenwriter Ed Brubaker (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Batman: Black and White, an episode of Westworld) has written the script along with Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Drive, Neon Demons). Lustig will return to the production, serving as a creative producer, along with Refn. John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) is set to direct the project. read more