These days, it’s very rare for a movie, let alone a horror movie, to cause an upset to the general public on such a grand scale. I’m not talking about the controversial movies like SERBIAN FILM or some of the French extremism that came in the wake of MARTYRS. Those films were movies that die-hard horror fans had to seek out. I’m specifically thinking of the early 80’s when a horror movie would get giant billboard advertising on a heavily populated, busy city street. And would immediately offend people that saw it.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT had a notorious backlash due to the depiction of Santa Claus going down the chimney with an ax. It was promptly pulled from theaters upon its first weekend. But looking back at news clips from the time period, I don’t think a horror movie has caused more controversy in the United States than William Lustig’s 1980 “slasher” classic MANIAC.
Check out this series of news reports from MANIAC’s original release, all culled from the DVD/Blu-Ray release from Blue Underground.
The Tomorrow Coast To Coast segment at around the 4 minute mark totally spoils the twist of Brian DePalma’s DRESS TO KILL, before setting it’s sights on MANIAC!
I’m always fascinated to see how different people responded to different genre movies upon their release. Earlier this week, we posted a video from a Barbara Walters special looking at “VCR Horrors.” There’s plenty more like this if you poke around You Tube.
But if you want more stuff specifically on MANIAC, I can’t recommend the Blu-Ray release enough. Tons of great special features, videos like the one above, and most importantly, a terrific tribute documentary titled The Joe Spinell Story, which focuses on the man behind MANIAC’s Frank Zito.