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Maniacs, The 
Written by: on January 24th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1964
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Franco Castellano, Lucio Fulci, Mario Guerra, Tonino Guerra, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Giuseppe Moccia, Vittorio Viechi
Cast: Vittorio Caprioli, Walter Chiari, Umberto D’Orsi, Franco Fabrizi, Ciccio Ingrassia, Franco Franchi, Barbara Steele, Raimondo Vianello, Enrico Maria Salerno, Gaia Germani, Sandra Mondaini, Aroldo Tieri, Ingrid Schoeller, Lisa Gastoni, Margaret Lee, Franca Valeri

DVD released: January 27th, 2009
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

The Maniacs was directed by Lucio Fulci whose horror films from the latter part of his career are what he is most known for. Lucio Fulci began his career primary working within the comedy genre directing films like 002 Operation Moon and he would return to the comedy genre during various points of his career directing films like The Eroticist and My Sister in Law.

The plot for The Maniacs is made up a series of comedy vignettes which all revolve around scenarios involving characters who driven to the edge of sanity. These comedy sketches feature jealous wives, homophobia, adultery, inept criminals and a husband who loses a bet and his wife is forced to become a prostitute. Most of sketches in the film still hold up well nearly forty five years later. Also unlike many Italian comedies, the content in The Maniacs is not hampered by regionalizing the comedy. To this film’s credit the subjects explored in the film translate well no matter what language you speak.

The best segment in the film also happens to be the one the closes the film titled “The Weekend”. This segment features Ciccio Ingrassia and Franco Franchi as a pair of thieves who are forced to think quickly while robbing a home when the occupants start coming home. Also look out for Margaret Lee in this segment as she portrays the mistress of the man who owns the home which is being robbed. Her character wears a ridiculous pair of glasses that she desperately needs or she is bind as a bat.

Some other stand out segments includes one titled “The Hitchhiker” in which a middle class man picks up a poverty stricken man looking for work. The comedy really kicks in this segment once the two men reveal through their thoughts their feelings about each other. Another segment of note is one titled “The Bill of Exchange” in which two wives jealous of each other. The two wives both pressure their husbands into buying them things the other women has. The wives in this segment are played by Barbara Steele and Sandra Mondaini. Like many performers I n this film Barbara Steele appears in more than one segment. The other segment she appears in is titled “The Hobby”. The score for The Maniacs was composed by Ennio Morricone and Carlo Rustichelli. Ultimately The Maniacs is a delirious comedy that puts a devious twist on everyday situations.

The DVD:

The Maniacs is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Details look crisp, black levels are strong and contrast levels fare well throughout. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. Overall the source used for this transfer is in great shape.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included. The English subtitles are error free, easy to follow and understand. Overall this is an above average audio mix that sounds clean and evenly balanced.

Extras for this release are limited to the film’s Italian language trailer and English subtitles have been included. Overall this is another strong release from Mya Communication’s that makes up for its lack of extra content with its solid audio/video presentation.

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