Sunday, April 30, 2017

Maniac, Insanity, Cat-Fights, and Phyllis Diller

What! Okay, picture this. An insane cat-fight in which Phyllis Diller rips the clothes off a blonde and tries to bludgeon her to death.  However insane this sounds, 1934's "Maniac" (aka "Sex Maniac") may have been the inspiration for "Re-Animator."  Pre-code? No doubt, but even in 2017, this one would have earned an R-rating. With gratuitous, and often violent nudity, an exploitative women in underwear scene, and an insaniac gouging out a cat's eye, "Maniac" certainly appealed to the prurient interests of a depression era America.
Dr. Meirschultz (Horace B. Carpenter) has created a formula that brings the dead back to life. His assistant is an actor/impersonator, Maxwell (Bill Woods) wanted by the cops. Dr. M. orders Maxwell to impersonate the coroner and steal the corpse of a beautiful suicide victim from the morgue.  He does, and Dr. M brings her back to life.  Too bad, this beauties next death will be an excruciating one. Next, Dr. M wants to bring a corpse back which has a shattered heart. Dr. M has created an artificial heart.  This is too much for Maxwell and he murders Dr. M, walls him up in the basement, makes himself up as this mad scientist, and assumes his identity.
Maxwell, the new Dr. M begins treating patients with horrific results.  One of his patients, Buckley (Ted Edwards), becomes homicidal, carries off the beautiful re-animated girl, rips her clothes off and strangles her in a field.  Meanwhile, Buckley's wife (Diller) offers to join forces with Dr. M.  Uh oh, Maxwell, now has become Dr. M and has a diabolical plan to do away with Phyllis Diller, and his own wife.  Now completely mad, and a necrophiliac (you'll see), Maxwell's plan for the two women, and a number of female corpses will be un-godly.
An exploitation/horror film from 1934, "Maniac" will remind you of "Re-Animator."  The sultry, blonde re-animated girl will remind you of Barbara Crampton.  You won't believe this one, but I kid you not, "Maniac" can be found on YouTube.


  1. I can believe that it would be on You Tube. That site is like a treasure trove. Phyllis Diller? Wow. I didn't know she was even in movies. You learn something new every day. This sounds like a crazy film that I wouldn't mind seeing. Terrific review, Christopher.

  2. Mind blown. Will be visiting YouTube soon. Great review!

  3. I haven't seen and if it were on tv, I'd probably watch it from behind a pillow! And it's from a Poe story? Which one Chris? A fantastic review!

  4. I liked your style and blog very impressive!