William Lustig's Maniac is a brilliant slasher film; one that William Friedkin called not just "a great film", but, "one of the scariest films of all time." Now, Mr. Friedkin's comments – not always a pillar of reliance (see: Jade) – are quite a shock to those who think Maniac is nothing more than a gratuitous, misogynistic splatter fest. The film is so much more: it's a 42nd Street Cinema version of Taxi Driver; a film that deserves more credit than just its superb gore effects by make-up maven Tom Savini (who lays claim the film's most infamous death). Lustig's direction is top notch even despite some splotchy pacing, there is a chase scene in the film that is rather intense; Joe Spinell's portrayal of Frank Zito, the homicidal killer with obvious woman problems, paints a portrait of a disturbed serial killer almost as unnerving as Michael Rooker's in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer; and that ending…what an ending…it totally squashes all of the N.O.W. complaints about the movie, and, especially when compared to drek like Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper, it's clear from the ending that Spinell and Lustig were not interested in glorifying the murders of these women, but in how these murders haunt the killer…showing (in a dream sequence) that they (the murders of the women) are literally eating him alive.