• Chris Alexander


Updated: Oct 8, 2018

"Tom Savini's Exploding Skull and Other Stunningly Sick Things!"


There's a sequence in director William Lustig's shattering 1980 New York-set shocker MANIAC that still stands as one of the most harrowing in the history of horror. In it, a courting couple exit a disco while Lustig cross-cuts to actor Joe Spinnell's degenerate psycho-killer Frank Zito "hunting" for prey. The couple sit in the front seat of the man's car and prepare for maximum making-out when suddenly, a shotgun wielding Spinnell leaps onto the hood, takes aim and blows the poor bastard's head apart in vulgar slow-mo, while his lady screams in abject horror, his brains and skull now saturating her face.

Check it out...

Said melon-busted man is played by actor and special FX legend Tom Savini, whose pioneering work on George A. Romero's 1978 zombie masterpiece DAWN OF THE DEAD defined the very term "splatter movie". In DAWN, Savini gave us his first exploding head, a scene that shook the world. The year after MANIAC, FX guru Dick Smith blew up a skull in David Cronenberg's SCANNERS. But that crushed cranium in MANIAC is without a doubt the grimmest of the bunch. For one, because Savini actually blew up his OWN head, thus making the gag more of a kind of "meta" confessional. But the real impact of the effect comes from Lustig's film itself and his intimate portrait of Spinnell's revolting and yet tragic Frank, a man who makes Robert DeNiro's TAXI DRIVER lunatic Travis Bickle (the obvious inspiration for Frank) look like a Bible salesman.

The pairing of Lustig and Spinnell stands as one of the most vital marriages of director and actor that the genre has ever offered and gave the late character actor Spinnell (THE GODFATHER and yes, TAXI DRIVER) a broad canvas to create an unforgettable, complex and mesmerizingly hideous human being. MANIAC is indeed a Savini splat-o-thon and a grueling gorefest of the highest order and yet it's SO much more because of that emotional component that snakes around the set-pieces. It's not a fun movie. It's a film you ENDURE,.

And guess what, Full Moon fiends! We have it!

Lustig has long been a friend to Full Moon and when our Full Moon Streaming channel sprung to life a few years ago, one of the first things we did is license a wealth of cult films from Lustig's BLUE UNDERGROUND film library. But MANIAC is the director's real-deal baby and a film he rightfully holds close to his heart. And though - like every movie of note ever made - MANIAC has been pirated here and there on the weird wide web, Lustig's gorgeous HD presentation is one he sneaks out of his vault on the most special of occasions.

A recent meeting with Bill saw us grab a pack of BLUE UNDERGROUND's best flicks to add to Full Moon Streaming and our insanely awesome and hugely popular Amazon channel, but it took some sweet talk to get the man to let us shine a spotlight on MANIAC.

And get it we did!

SO, in the next few weeks, Full Moon fans can watch immaculate HD presentations of pictures like THE PROWLER (another signature Tom Savini gore FX meltdown), the wonderfully depressing NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS, the sexy Carroll Baker supernatural sex romp BABA YAGA, the rough 'n' tumble giallo STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, the violent and metaphysical surrealist western DJANGO KILL!, Dario Argento's third film THE CAT 'O' NINE TAILS and his ultimate giallo masterpiece DEEP RED.


So if you have yet to experience the screaming, festering and oddly beautiful open sore of a horror film that is MANIAC, make sure you subscirbe to either FMS or our Amazon channel ASAP and buckle in for a raw portrait of New York City at its post-70s grimiest and spend some time with killer Frank, the byproduct of the American Dream gone to absolute Hell.

And if you're looking for lighter - but still decidedly adult - fare, be sure to give our latest acquisitions from the Ernest C. Dietrich classic Eurosmut library, SWEDISH GAS PUMP GIRLS and THE YOUNG SEDUCERS 2. Like all the Dietrich films, these two sex-soaked comedic romps are available via our channels and on DVD, all culled from digital remasters transferred from Dietrich's original 35mm negatives.

Dig in you maniacs...

Oh, and while we have you, don't forget that July 4th is right around the corner. Well, it's more like down the hall and to the left. But you get it, it's close. And you know what that means! HUGE freaking deals at the Full Moon Store! We'll give you a serious preview of the deals we'll have for you in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, pack your lunches, pare down your social life and SAVE YOUR DOLLARS because you'll need them to take advantage of the sweet swag we'll be spewing out.

Full Moon or bust!