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A milestone in exploitation filmmaking, Maniac is also one of the most shocking and fascinating movies made in the thirties, pushing the boundaries of acceptable film production to its limits. Created by the husband and wife team responsible for films such as Marihuana, Weed With Roots In Hell and How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband, Maniac was originally shown at burlesque theaters and roadhouses rather than at regular movie theaters. A burlesque house was an appropriate venue for Maniac as the movie includes shots of topless women - a true shocker for 1934! Based partly on Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat, Maniac also cleverly superimposes clips from a 1922 movie called Haxan to suggest the insanity of characters. The wild plot concerns a mad doctor (Horace B. Carpenter), who blackmails a former vaudeville impersonator (Bill Woods) into helping him obtain the corpses he needs to perform Frankenstein-like experiments. When the doctor is accidentally killed, the impersonator "becomes" the doctor and even attempts to bring him back from the dead. Maniac revels in it's gleeful exhibition of "bad taste."

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ALP4002 Maniac DVD (1934/Dwain Esper) $5.99