This is a trigger warning. Both versions of Maniac are depraved horror films featuring extreme violence against women and really cannot be fairly discussed without acknowledging these horrible crimes. I normally try to avoid those topics when posting about exploitation films, but it really is the substance of these features.
The original 1980 version of Maniac, written by and starring Joe Spinell, is one of the more infamous slasher films. It was released unrated and ravaged by critics as nothing more than violence for the sake of violence. Spinell’s performance was praised (as was William Lustig’s direction) and it comfortably grew to be a cult classic.
The 2013 remake of Maniac takes a different stylistic approach and actually removes the justification mechanic. The original version made it very clear that serial killer Frank Zito became a dangerous psychopath because of childhood trauma from years of abuse. The remake doesn’t offer that excuse.