This week on Blu-ray sees the release of Guillermo del Toro’s monsters vs. robots epic, five seasons of a Star Wars animated series in a collector’s set, and a sports movie classic. What will you be picking up?
In Maniac, Elijah Wood stars as Frank, a deeply disturbed mannequin store owner and part-time serial killer with a history of childhood abuse. Frank gets his therapy on the cheap, finding relief in the act of scalping his victims, and with the film shot almost entirely in POV perspective we’re there for every strangled scream, broken bone, and drop of blood. Directed by Franck Khalfoun and based on the 1980 slasher, Maniac stands on its own as a solid horror film that’s bolstered by gruesome effects, great performances, and an amazing soundtrack. Maniac also stars Nora Arnezeder, Megan Duffy, Liane Balaban, America Olivo, and Jan Broberg.
Earlier this week I spoke with Wood. We talked about the distinct challenges of working in POV format, creating a character in voice over, and working with Alexandre Aja and Franck Khalfoun. Wood also discussed the implications of the rapidly occurring changes in the film industry and plans for his new horror-centric production company, Spectre Vision. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
A good remake is hard to find. While I’m not inherently opposed to the idea, as so many are, there is always that hitch in your breath when you hear an iconic film is being given the remake treatment. Fortunately for fans of Maniac, director Franck Khalfoun hits all the right marks with his updated version of the 1980 slasher. Khalfoun maintains the basic set up: a deranged, but sympathetic mannequin store owner, Frank (Elijah Wood), spends his nights scalping innocent women as a result of his abusive past. However, Khalfoun puts his own stamp on the material, shooting the entire film in POV format and changing the setting from New York to L.A. It works. Backed up by strong performances, gruesome effects, and an excellent soundtrack, Khalfoun’s Maniac provides a spin on the original that can horrify modern audiences anew.
Earlier this week at the film’s L.A. press day I had the opportunity to speak with Khalfoun. We talked about working with Elijah Wood, the challenges of shooting a film in POV, why the film was set in downtown L.A., and the soundtrack by Rob. We also discussed bringing something new to a remake, his favorite kills of the film, why practical effects were important, and a lot more. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
In Maniac, Megan Duffy gives a standout performance as Lucie, a thoroughly modern gal looking for Mr. Right-Now via online dating. Unfortunately for Lucie she ends up on a date from hell with Frank (Elijah Wood), a mannequin store owner with some serious mommy issues and a fetish for women’s scalps. Directed by Frank Khalfoun (P2),Maniac is damn good film with engaging performances, stylish cinematography, nasty effects, and as any fan of Sin City can tell you, Elijah Wood can be one creepy sonofabitch when he wants to. Maniac also stars Nora Arnezeder, Liane Balaban, America Olivo, and Jan Broberg, and so far it’s the best horror film I’ve seen this year, so definitely give a look when it comes out on VOD on 6/21 or in theaters on 6/28.
I recently landed an exclusive phone interview with Duffy. We talked about how she got the part, the challenges of acting in a POV film, shooting such vulnerable scene, working with cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, audience reactions to the scalping scenes, and more. Check out the full interview after the jump.
A few new posters have made their way online. Briefly:
- 42 – A new poster for the Jackie Robinson biopic features star Chadwick Boseman making quite the play. The film also stars Harrison Ford and Christopher Meloni and opens on April 12th.
- Emperor – The debut poster for this WWII historical drama, which finds Matthew Fox investigating whether or not the Japanese Emperor should be tried for war crimes. Tommy Lee Jones plays General Douglas MacArthur. The film opens on March 8th.
- Olympus Has Fallen – A new character poster for this “Die Hard in the White House” thriller features a highly photoshopped Morgan Freeman, who shockingly does not play the president. The film opens on March 22nd.
- Maniac – Elijah Wood gets his serial killer on in this UK quad for the horror thriller remake. The film opens later this year.
Hit the jump to check out the posters and full synopses.
How do you prefer your Elijah Wood: as a young and innocent Hobbit or as a bloodthirsty stalker and serial killer? If it’s the latter, you’ll enjoy the first six minutes of director Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac. The remake of William Lustig’s 1980 horror thriller features Wood as a mannequin store owner who develops a nasty obsession with pretty young women, whom he kills and scalps. The previously released trailers (here and here) show off some of the violence, but the first six minutes of the film are a slow build to the film’s first kill. A lot of tropes are on display (only dumb and pretty girls are targeted by serial killers, after all) but something about Wood as the stalker/killer makes this extra creepy (see Sin City). I’m also digging the soundtrack sampling, which reminds me a bit of Drive. Hit the jump to watch the first six minutes of Maniac, opening in 2013.
Although Elijah Wood will be appearing as Frodo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, this new NSFW international trailer for the Maniac remake suggests that the One Ring has done irreparable damage to his psyche. A contemporary re-imagining of William Lustig’s 1980 slasher flick, Maniac stars Wood as Frank, a shy owner of a mannequin store with a fetish for stalking and scalping young women. The Franck Khalfoun-directed remake appears to be told from the point of view of Frank as the new trailer clearly shows.
Also starring America Olivo, Liane Balaban and Nora Arnezeder, Maniac is currently touring the festival circuit. Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.
As if these images from Elijah Wood’s remake of the 1980 slasher flick, Maniac, weren’t disturbing enough, here’s a new trailer to haunt your dreams. This NSFW first look at the Franck Khalfoun-directed thriller features nudity, gruesome violence and the scalping of not just the dime-store mannequins, but real live women as well. The original, directed by William Lustig, starred Joe Spinell as Frank, a psychopath with a history of childhood abuse who takes women’s scalps as trophies. Wood is doing his best to out-creep Spinell in this trailer and I dare say that he has succeeded. Maniac also stars America Olivo and Nora Arnezeder. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.
The first images from the remake of the 1980 slasher pic Maniac have gone online. Elijah Wood stars as the owner of a mannequin store (that’s not creepy at all) who spends his spare time stalking prey on the internet and planning out his kills. The character suffers hallucinations that take him back to when his mother abused him, and he gains a sense of revenge against his mother each time he kills a victim. Franck Khalfoun (P2) directs this redo, and the film is actually slated to premiere as part of the Midnight lineup at next week’s Cannes Film Festival. These first images show an appropriately bloody Wood, female lead Nora Arnezeder, and a brain damaged mannequin.
Hit the jump to check out the images.
Elijah Wood shined in the debut season of FX’s Wilfred, but now the actor is taking on hallucinations of a decidedly darker sort. The actor has nabbed himself the lead in the indie remake of the 1980 serial killer pic Maniac. Deadline confirms (as first reported by Bloody Disgusting) that Wood will play a serial killer who works at a shop that sells antique mannequins, and spends his spare time stalking prey on the internet and planning out his kills. The character suffers hallucinations that take him back to when his mother abused him, and he gains a sense of revenge against his mother each time he kills a victim. Nora Arnezeder (Safe House) also stars, as reported by BD. Franck Khalfoun (P2) is directing the indie, and Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) and Gregory Lavasseur (The Hills Have Eyes) are onboard to produce.
Wood is set to reprise his role as Frodo throughout the year-long production of The Hobbit, and recently completed work in the dramedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. His voice talents will be on display with the release of Happy Feet Two on November 18th.