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.
Netflix has a new series coming out called Maniac. It’s not based on the ultra-violent 1980 William Lustig film, but it still looks pretty darn creepy! The series is co-written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the writer of It (2017) and the director behind the incredible first season of True Detective. In the new trailer, Stone’s and Hill’s characters appear to be participating in a pharmaceutical trial that’s going off the rails with unintended side effects. The result is a psychedelic, mind-bending thriller, with scenes crossing various genres and filmic styles: read more