William Lustig

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The lethargy inherent in being in between two of the biggest holidays of the year has made this week kind of a dead zone for movie news, but a couple of studios have still been throwing us bones by delivering extended previews of what they’ve got coming up in the next year. Just yesterday we were treated to the first four minutes of zombie comedy Warm Bodies, and today Warner Bros. is upping the ante by bringing us the first six minutes of their upcoming Maniac remake. Six minutes! That’s two more than yesterday. At this rate, tomorrow we may get to see the first eight minutes of something. And then, eventually, entire movies will get released without us having to pay for them at all. What a world.

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About a week ago a teaser trailer leaked to the net for Franck Khalfoun’s remake of the William Lustig horror film, Maniac. It gave us a glimpse of a knife-wielding, psychotic Elijah Wood, but wasn’t quite ready for consumption and got pulled down before everyone could see it. Well now the powers that be have deemed it permissible for the public to take a look at the film, and Twitch has gotten their hands on a new cut of the trailer; which is full-length, very red band, and very not safe for work.

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You have the right to remain silent… forever! It should surprise no one that Larry Cohen came up with the tag line above before a single word of his script for Maniac Cop was written. It’s beyond perfect, and it sums up the attitude behind the film pretty damn well. Director William Lustig had been best known for his Joe Spinell slasher, Maniac, so Cohen worked his magic and scripted this film with a similar sounding title but a more blackly comic tone. The result is a genre “classic” that spawned two sequels of varying quality and remains an entertaining slice of horror cinema. Arrow Video in the UK released Maniac Cop to Blu-ray last month, and we gave it a test drive below.

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Alexander Aja continues his work with remakes as the producer of a forthcoming remake of William Lustig‘s brilliant Maniac – whose ultra-violence caused Gene Siskel to famously storm out of the theater and rail against it on his show with Roger Ebert. The movie will be directed by Franck Khalfoun – a talent who delivered the parking garage stalker flick P2 and who has an extra C in his first name. News of a remake, especially something as grisly and revered as this movie, needs some sort of sugar to help the medicine go down. The sugar this time is Elijah Wood – a giant spoonful of happy feet who will be stepping well outside his wheelhouse to play the serial killer. Say what you will about his role in Sin City, but that was not the blood-soaked mayhem and confusion that this murdering character demands. They are as different as the black and white Wood was painted with as Kevin, the silent cannibal. Also, in a strange turn of rumored events, Badass Digest is reporting that unnamed sources are claiming the movie (or at least its kills) will be shot POV. It’s an interesting, if unoriginal, idea, and it could very well work beautifully. The only real concern is when the camera will cut away (if it’s just the kills in POV), because so much of Maniac was brought to life by Joe Spinell‘s performance. He killed without mercy or understanding, and him staring on at his own work […]

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