Cinemetal Reviews

Maniac: Frodo Baggins Wants Your Scalp


Maniac 2013 Movie Poster

Because of our epic mancrush on Ides Of Gemini guitarist/contributor to TerrorizerRevolverand Decibel (seriously, if you’ve never read his “Cry Now, Cry Later” columns, you’ve never lived), we recently begged the inimitable J. Bennett to come write for MetalSucks. He said he wanted to review horror movies. We love horror movies! So we agreed. Below, please find the first of what we hope will many contributions from J. to the general depravity of MetalSucks. Enjoy!

Frodo Baggins cruises the streets of Los Angeles looking for muff and scalps. But mostly scalps. He’s an asexual sex killer and trophy collector, a repressed pervert who cannot consummate his lust until he stabs a woman to death in a parking lot and ejaculates in his pants. Meanwhile, his bedroom fills up with flies because of all the rotten scalps he’s collecting. To take the edge off, he poses mannequins in lesbian sex positions and sprays the room down with Raid.  The Freudian root of all this bad behavior is that Mommy was a coke slut.

Frodo suffers from “migraines.” He watches The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and sees his own hideous murders and mutilations on the screen. He thinks about jacking off, but can’t. He passes his days restoring ancient mannequins in Mommy’s former shop. He meets a young photographer. She’s French. She’s blonde. She’s got a boyfriend—and a scalp. She’s THE ONE.  It’s only a matter of time before Frodo tells her to put the lotion in the basket.

Like just about every other horror movie released in the last fifteen years, Maniac is a remake. If you’ve seen the 1980 original, you know that it’s cheesy but also kind of awesome. You know that legendary zombie-makeup artist Tom Savini—playing a character known simply as “Disco Boy”—gets his head blown off in spectacular fashion. If you haven’t seen it, there is no better recommendation than this: Gene Siskel loved it so much that he walked out after thirty minutes. Joe Spinell plays the killer in the original Maniac. Joe Spinell was in The Godfather.  And Rocky. He was big and fat and pockmarked and Italian. He died in ’89. He was creepy. He was believable. Frodo is a 90-pound blue-eyed hobbit. He’s an actor. You can see him acting, when you can see him at all: The remake is shot from his point of view.

The original Maniac was set in late ’70s New York, when New York was a seedy shithole. The remake is mostly set in the antiseptic downtown lofts of modern Los Angeles. The filmmakers are apparently hoping that the shock value of seeing Frodo Baggins as a serial killer will be enough to put asses in the seats, because their movie isn’t very good. Okay, okay: two of the kills are pretty fantastic, especially the first one, which is why you’ll initially get sucked in. (And yeah, it’s fucking gory, as advertised.) Plus, America Olivo of Bitch Slap fame plays Mommy in flashback: She’s onscreen for about ten seconds and she’s the best part of the flick. But the first-person camera angle is lame. Just like Frodo. In the end, the most brutal murder is the filmmakers’ butchery of an otherwise perfectly decent slasher flick. A slasher flick that was better the first time.

Maniac opens tomorrow, Friday, June 21, in select cities.

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