Scare o' the Day!
Friday Night Thriller Theater
Every Friday Night I'll be recommending a scary movie that can be streamed from Netflix!
The thing about recommending movies instead of reviewing them is that you sometimes end up watching good movies that you still might not want to recommend. That happened to me this week with Franck Khalfoun's 2012 remake, Maniac.
Maniac stars Elijah Wood as Frank, a mannequin repairing serial killer, with heavy-duty Oedipal issues, who decompensates rapidly after making the acquaintance of pretty photographer, Anna. Frank's all too human desire for a relationship with Anna, who is played by stunning French actress Nora Arnezeder, dooms them both. That I knew this and continued to watch Maniac to its hideously violent and gruesome conclusion is a testament to the power of the film.
Yet, I cannot recommend this movie.
Maniac was produced and co-written by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur and is based on William Lustig's original 1980 slasher film of the same name. Aja's gory influence is obvious from the start. Maniac is shot from serial killer Frank's first person perspective and is unflinchingly violent on a personal level. It is brutal, misogynistic, and horrific.
Maybe too horrific.
That horror is supposed to horrify is understood. That horror is often violent, misogynistic, bloody, and mean-spirited goes without saying. But, Maniac would seem to cross a line. It is an excellent film. It is also porn for serial killers. The kind of movie that would have fueled Ted Bundy's disturbed fantasies in the 70's. The kind of movie that fuels the disturbed fantasies of a new generation of sadistic serial predators today.
I believe that we have a responsibility for the energy we send out into the world. I just question whether Maniac is the kind of energy that should be sent.
And I think Elijah Wood probably agrees, at least on a subconscious level. Although he has become a major and welcomed player in the world of horror cinema, both as producer and star, Wood admitted on Conan O'Brien that he fears the possibility of home invasion and often envisions the way such a scenario would play out before he falls asleep at night.
Click here to see Bill Burr giving Elijah Wood advice on how to protect himself in the event of such an occurrence.