You are probably (hopefully) familiar with the 1980 slasher Maniac; however, you might not know that a remake was released last year. As far as I know it has only been shown at film festivals so far but looks like it is receiving a limited release in the States in June.
Usually I try and go into remakes with an open mind and not compare the film with its original too much. Because, after all, it is a separate movie and deserves at least a chance to be treated as such. Remakes can be pointless and annoying when they are just a total carbon copy of the original (Gus van Sant’s Psycho), or are just fucking bad (2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street). Taking a completely different spin on the original concept and recreating a film can go a lot of different ways. In my opinion, this year’s Evil Dead was a bold move, a new vision, and it turned out great.
The movie is quite the reinvention of the original; almost every aspect is different. Different doesn’t mean bad! But it is different. First of all, the iconic poster for the 1980 version is the lower half of a hulking man, a severed scalp in one hand, a hunting knife in the other, and an engorged mass of genitalia between. The new posters remind me a bit of Drive. One is of a stern pair of eyes gazing back from a rear view mirror reflection; the other, that I have chosen because I like it better, kind of has an Inferno feel to it with the pink and blue color scheme.
If you have seen the original you probably know the answer to that already, but I’d say Maniac is still worth the watch. It is very strange, and the subjective camera style (similar to the 1980 film) may take a minute to get used to, but it is very cleverly shot. Writer Aja really tries to make the film a study of an unsound mind, much as he did with High Tension. He is known to have graphic gore abound in his scripts, but director Khalfoun does it elegantly and sees that it does not take away from the story.
Wood gives a great performance as Frank, especially once you consider that he is only on screen half the time and is acting mostly through dialogue and grunts, screams, and cries. I did yearn for more shots of his famously expressive eyes, but he can give a strong performance without them.
|(Emblem for The Woodshed Horror Company)|
Oh, and I will be writing up more on The Woodshed Horror Company as I hear about it, so keep an eye peeled if you are interested in that.