I've written another piece for Europe's Best Website: this one is a little different, though, as it came together much more quickly than usual. Last weekend, a call went out from the editor for articles to fill a gap in the schedule. I had a look at what was currently showing in London cinemas - as Time Out continues its nosedive into utter uselessness, I'm finding LondonNet to be the best site for that sort of information - and noticed that one of the new releases that weekend was Maniac, starring Elijah Wood. It's a remake of an old horror movie from the video nasty era: I remembered that I'd picked up an uncut US DVD of the original during a shameful period in the late 90s, where my film importing choices were driven largely by whether they'd been banned in the UK or not. And a plan started to emerge.
Sunday evening, I watched the 1980 version of Maniac on my laptop while The Belated Birthday Girl was doing other stuff around the house. (At one point she needed my input on something, and I'm pretty sure I used the phrase "let me just get to the end of this stabbing and I'll be right with you.") Monday afternoon, I took advantage of a week off work to pop along to the Prince Charles cinema to watch the 2012 version, and marvel at how they'd managed to recreate the atmosphere of a New York 80s grindhouse by paying a fat smelly man with breathing problems to park himself and his carrier bags in the seat next to mine in a half-full auditorium. On Tuesday, I wrote it all up. On Wednesday, it appeared online under the title A Tale Of Two Maniacs, which allowed me to promote it with a quick topical gag on Twitter.
And now it's Thursday, and time for the usual bonus material I put on here to lure you into visiting Mostly Film. It's another wee collection of videos - trailers, clips, and some related tunes. Be warned, some of the images may be unsuitable for the sensitive or the employed amongst you.
1. Maniac (1980): R-rated trailer. American movie trailers come in multiple flavours, depending on the age range of the audience they're being shown to. So this is what they call the 'red band' trailer for the original version of Maniac, because of the red notice traditionally shown at the start to say it's for restricted audiences only. 'Restricted' in this case means that there still may be children in the room, so note that this trailer focusses on the scary bits without showing any real gore.
2. Maniac (1980): unrated trailer. Maniac, however, wasn't given a rating by the MPAA in the first place, and this gave William Lustig the freedom to put together an unrated trailer specifically for the grindhouse audience. This is pretty much all gore, so careful. It includes make-up effects guy Tom Savini in his most famous acting role, Man Who Takes Shotgun Blast Directly In The Face: and it's lovingly remastered in 1080p HD by Blue Underground, the people responsible for the film's Blu-ray release on its 30th anniversary.
3. Maniac (1980): TV spots. Tricky one, isn't it? With a film as graphic as Maniac, how on earth do you advertise it to a general audience on televison? This compilation of TV ads shows you how. See how many times you can sit through the phrase "no-one under 17 admitted" without giggling, and note the splendid on-screen disclaimer about how the age restriction is just because of violence rather than icky sex.
4. Goin' To A Showdown by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band. After sitting through all those TV slots, you'll probably have this song going through your head - the fashion shoot scene isn't really that relevant to Maniac in plot terms, but it's something enjoyable to look at that doesn't involve exit wounds. Don Armando comes from the ZE Records stable that also spawned Kid Creole And The Coconuts, and both the Kid himself and his sidekick Coati Mundi were involved in the production of this track.
5. Maniac (2012): UK trailer. And so onto the remake - this is how it's being advertised to general audiences in the UK.
6. Maniac (2012): international Red Band trailer. Whereas this is a more gore-heavy trailer for those countries who like that sort of thing - and for internet audiences, naturally. (As for a US trailer, there isn't one, because the film hasn't come out there yet - IFC Midnight are giving it a simultaneous release to cinemas and video on demand from June 21st.)
7. Maniac (2012): the first six minutes. Here's something that only appears to have become a thing over the last couple of years - filmmakers putting the first few minutes of their movie online, as a try-before-you-buy deal. In this case, six minutes of Maniac gets you the opening credits and everything all the way up to the first use of disappointing CGI.
8. Maniac by Michael Sembello. The picture captions and mouseover text for A Tale Of Two Maniacs are the work of Mostly Film editor Mr Moth, who I think deserves particular praise for the caption on the final photo. As he brings it up in the mouseover text, here's the song from Flashdance, which was originally inspired by William Lustig's film. If it hadn't been for a suggestion from Sembello's producer Phil Ramone, the lyrics could apparently have been very different indeed...