Grindhouse releasing has announced it’s theatrical re-release of Bill Lustig’s sleazebucket horror classic MANIAC, and I have created the disturbing new poster art which will haunt theatre lobbies. It’s a real honor to pay homage to the film this way, and to the late, great Joe Spinell. When I saw Bill Lustig’s MANIAC for the first time, I literally got sick to my stomach. It was back in the heyday of the slasher film, you know, back in the early eighties, but this wasn’t really a typical slasher film at all. It had all the gore and everything and effects by Tom Savini—he even blew his own head off with a shotgun. I was ripe for all that mayhem . . . but the film really sneaks up on you in this terrible, cruel, nasty way because it’s a film about the KILLER and not about the VICTIMS.
See, most of those slasher numbers back then had heroes that got away in the end, or at least one “last girl” or whatever. This film was nothing like that. It’s all inside the had of this sick, perverted maniac and even when he gets his in the end, it’s twisted and disturbing. It makes you feel dirty and that makes it one of the most important horror films ever made, I think, because even though it’s kinda sleazy and exploitive, it doesn’t trivialize any of this stuff. It’s a character piece about what makes these psychos do what they do, and Joe Spinell is amazing in the film!
Because of that, and because of Caroline Munro’s presence in the film, MANIAC also has strong family ties to STARCRASH, which is one of my favorite films, and about as far from this as you can get! I love that! Also, Judd Hamilton, who played the friendly robot sidekick in STARCRASH is the executive producer.. He basically lent them some cash to finish their film when it got rough. He was married to Caroline at the time and was so embarrassed by the film that he actually grabbed her hand and walked out of the theatre during the premiere at Cannes, then he screamed at crowd of reporters that ‘it oughta be illegal to make a piece of shit like that!’
The buzz was so strong because of that, and because the film was so hard-hitting, that Lustig made out like a bandit! The picture was extremely successful for them, and now it’s getting the Grindhouse treatment 30 years later! I wanted to go even darker and more gory with my art . . . but Bob Murawski actually had me tone it down some, if you can believe that! My first version was just a portrait of Joe staring at the audience in a rain of gore. Some of that’s still in the final version! This was a fun project. I think movie like this are really brave, so it’s an honor to be involved.
Buy the official one sheet at www.grindhousereleasing.com.