With London’s Frightfest drawing ever closer, one of the fun things to do is go through the list of movies on offer, chalking up the must-sees, the maybes and the maybe-nots.

Well, for me, Maniac – the tale of a twisted individual who has a festish for human scalps –  definitely falls into the former camp.

With the grimy original still imprinted on my mind (even though I saw it roughly 20 years ago while at university), the idea of a remake had me both scratching my head and grinding my teeth in frustration – here’s another desecration of a horror classic on the way I thought.

But then you realise that the film is directed by Franck Khalfoun, and produced by Alexandre Aja (who previously teamed up on Switchblade Romance and Piranha) and the thing suddenly becomes more interesting.

Even more so when you realise that Elijah Wood has been cast as the eponymous psycho – an out there decision that definitely has the potential to work.

Sure, Wood has attempted to play against type before (the misfireGreen Streetinstantly springs to mind), but I will happily sit through him attempting to do so again.

As soon as this movie was mooted, it was inevitable that many in the horror community would be up in arms – they always are (I know – I’m part of it).

But when I revisited the original again it struck me that aside from the excellent effects work of Tom Savini, the sleazy performance of Joe Spinell and the overall tone, the 1980 original is certainly not untouchable.

And, lest we forget, Aja has shown a deft touch when it comes to classic horror remakes with his excellent take on The Hills Have Eyes a few years back.

So I will go into this update with a very open mind, especially after the intriguing trailer that surfaced for the 2012 version.

 

And to compare, here’s a trailer for director William Lustig’s original:

 

Maniac (2012) is screening at Frightfest on Saturday, August 25.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.