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Blu-ray Review: William Lustig’s Maniac (3-Disc Limited Edition / 4K Restoration)

When I got the opportunity to review Blue Underground’s Blu-ray release for William Lustig’s 1980 grindhouse slasher Maniac, I was intrigued, but also a bit nervous. I’d previously only ever seen the 2012 remake starring Elijah Wood, and it was a compelling, beautiful, but ultimately very bleak film. From what I’d heard about the original, it was just as bleak, but also purported to be significantly sleazier. The packaging for the Blu-ray certainly leans into the feel of exploitation cinema with loud artwork, splashy inserts, and a CD copy of the soundtrack that features a sweaty, wide-eyed Joe Spinell (our titular maniac) on the disc. With a total of three discs of content, I was bracing myself for a prolonged dive into some unpleasant material.

The film, after all, doesn’t market itself as the typical popcorn slasher one would see making a big surge in the early ’80s.

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