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Maniacal

Review by: 
Blackgloves
Release Date: 
2003
Studio: 
Screen Entertainment
Genre: 
Slasher
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
2 PAL
Aspect Ratio: 
1.66:1
Directed by: 
Joe Castro
Cast: 
Perinne More
Lee Webb
Movie: 
2
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
2

 Gilbert Gill (Lee Webb) doesn't have an ideal family life. Ridiculed by his sister, regularly beaten by his father and sexually abused by his mom -- it is only a matter of time before the withdrawn teenager snaps! One day he goes crazy, bludgeons his mom to death with a hammer, and is packed off to an insane asylum. Three years later and Gilbert is about to be released for a home visit (WHY???); but when his father arrives to pick him up, he discovers that Gilbert has already escaped, brutally killing several hospital orderlies in the process. Gilbert's dad rushes back to find a knife rammed into a family portrait... Gilbert has come home!
 
Meanwhile, Gilbert's sister Janet (Perinne Moore) and her two busty school friends plan a Slumber Party at one of the girls' house -- and head off to the local vid store to buy some bargain-bin slasher movies for the occasion. Soon after, Gilbert pays the same store a visit -- he murders the owner and steals a clown mask. Gilbert's dad joins up with the local cop on the case, convinced that the boy plans to finish what he started by killing his sister Janet; but unlike Gilbert, they do not know where she and her friends are staying the night, and so Janet, her friends and their dates soon find themselves targeted by the killer: in true slasher movie fashion, they are slayed one by one until only Janet remains to face her nemesis of a brother one last time!
 
Joe Castro's low-budget Slasher is the latest American Indie title to get a release in the UK by Screen Entertainment. Low production values, bad acting and a fairly poor script characterise this particular effort, but the day is partially saved thanks to a huge amount of graphically detailed, gory nastiness curtesy of director Castro -- who also doubles as the special effects man! Eye gouging, disembowelment, throat slashing and a profusion of exploding and crushed heads dominate the seventy-plus minutes of the film's running time, and several scenes are particularly violent and brutal: a woman's face being smashed to a pulp with a hammer and a particularly violent and protracted throttling are the ones that stand out the most.
 
This may be enough to make the film worth a look (along with a gratuitous shower scene with Carol Rose Carver) but there's no getting away from the fact that lead Perrine Moore simply cannot act to save her life. The rest of the cast aren't quite so bad but the script seems more designed to parody and name-drop other slasher movies than to create credible characterisation and a coherent story-line. Why would a maniac suddenly be released for a home visit and why would his sister carry on with her plans to have a party with her friends even after she realises her maniac brother has escaped? The film is filled with these kind of illogicalities but, to be fair, it looks like the film is only really intended to cater for gore fans -- much more attention and care seems to have been devoted to the outrageous violence it contains than anything else. In that respect, the film delivers, but it is not likely to linger in the mind for any other reason.
 
Screen Entertainment (Hard Gore) present the film in its original aspect ratio of 4:3. the film was shot on video so don't expect anything too fancy -- apart from a few microphone and camera shadows though, the makers have done a fairly professional looking job and the transfer looks fine considering the low production values. The only extra on the disc concerning the actual film is a theatrical trailer. There are also several trailers for other Hard Gore titles. Probably one for committed devotees of the Slasher genre only!
 

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