Film Spotlight: Maniac

A film aficionado from an early age, director Frank Khalfoun was too young (he was 11) to have seen the 1980 horror film Maniac when it came out in theaters. But he eventually got his hands on a copy of the flick and instantly loved it.

"I remember it quite well," he says of the film about a serial killer who scalps his victims. "I just stumbled on it in the video store. I was like 'Wow. A guy has a girl's head in his hand and a knife and a big bulge in his pants. I gotta see this.'"

He had so much respect for the movie that when he was approached about remaking it, he initially thought it wasn't a good idea.

"I thought, 'No way. Why do you want to redo this?'" he says. "It's a movie that has a huge cult following. We had to work budget out and come up with an original concept."

The "original concept" he came up with: Film the entire movie from the point of view of the serial killer.

"[Elijah Wood] brings an innocence to the character," says Khalfoun. "That's terrifying to me. He's the last person you'd suspect of being this way, which is often the case with serial killers. A charming guy with beautiful blue eyes who's unsuspecting is so much scarier to me than a monster."

And given that we live in an era where nothing's shocking, it's a testament to the film's power that it's so effectively frightening.

The film shows at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 at the Cedar Lee Theatre.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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