On Tuesday, William Lustig's 'Maniac' arrived on DVD and Blu-ray in a new 30th Anniversary Edition, released by cult-friendly distributor Blue Underground. To commemorate the release, fellow theatrical and DVD distributor Grindhouse Releasing is spearheading a limited theatrical re-release of the film in theatres around the country, starting on October 29 and 30 with the Egyptian Theatre in Seattle. The film will subsequently screen in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre on November 5, with Lustig on hand to introduce the film and conduct a q&a with the audience.
Grindhouse Releasing successfully launched a roadshow series of screenings of Sam Raimi's 'The Evil Dead' in 2009, and according to company spokesman David Szulkin, who runs its theatrical division, that film has played in theaters every week of 2010 and continues to screen all over the country. But more than simply showing 'Maniac,' Grindhouse struck brand new 35mm prints of the film, and commissioned artist Stephen Romano to create a new one-sheet poster especially to promote its theatrical run. In short, this is quite possibly the best presentation of the film to be screened in theaters in decades, if not ever.
The company is also responsible for the series of national screenings held for Duke Mitchell's 'Gone With the Pope,' and previously created a theatrical print to commemorate the overdue 2008 release of the cult shocker 'Pieces,' which Grindhouse also released on DVD. Their choice of 'Maniac' follows in their ongoing tradition of championing some of the most bizarre, disturbing and controversial films ever released; upon its initial theatrical run, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called for a boycott of the film, while feminists protested the film's brutal violence.
Of course, whether it stands up against the sorts of graphic material seen in more recent horror films is up to viewers, but as a superlative example of slasher movies from the subgenre's heyday, 'Maniac' is not to be missed, and is best seen on the big screen, shared with a theater full of fellow fans.