23 July 2014

Maniac (1963)
86 min.
Directed by Michael Carreras.
With Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray, Norman Bird, Liliane Brousse, Arnold Diamond, Donald Houston, Justine Lord.
A well conceived Hammer thriller.

Savagely assaulted as a youth, Annette Beynat sees her father exercise some vigilante justice on her perp (via an enthusiastic blow torch), whereupon pops goes directly to the loony bin.

Four years later, American painter Geoff (Mathews) comes to town...and promptly falls in love with Annette. But her stepmother Eve (Gray) successfully distracts Geoff away from Annette and begins to seduce him herself.

In an inexplicable lapse of judgment, Geoff agrees to a wacky plan hatched by Eve: they'll break Annette's father out of an asylum.

But once accomplished, they discover the torch-lovin' Mr. Beynat is neither cured nor peaceful...and he's got a score to settle.

Excellent performances from the three leads (Gray is dead on) and a handful of genuine plot surprises in the final third recommend Maniac heartily.

Would make a fun suspense doubler with 1961's Scream of Fear.

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