Maniac (1963 film)

Maniac (also known as The Maniac) is a 1963 psychological thriller film directed by Michael Carreras and starring Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray and Donald Houston.[1][2] The film, produced by Hammer Films, is an international co-production between the United Kingdom and France.

The Maniac
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Carreras
Produced byJimmy Sangster
Written byJimmy Sangster
StarringKerwin Mathews
Nadia Gray
Liliane Brousse
Donald Houston
Music byStanley Black
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byTom Simpson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures Corporation
Release date
20 May 1963
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The story tells of vacationing American artist Jeff Farrell who becomes romantically involved with an older woman named Eve Beynat in southern France, harboring some attraction for her teenage stepdaughter Annette. Eve's husband/Annette's father Georges is in an asylum for, four years ago, using a blowtorch to kill a man who had raped Annette. Believing it will help make Eve his for life, Jeff agrees to assist her in springing Georges from the asylum. Of course, Eve has a completely different agenda in mind. Inspector Etienne sets up a plot to help trap the real killer, and the climactic scenes are set at Les Baux-de-Provence in the huge stone galleries dug into the rock of the Val-d'Enfer on the road to Maillane.



The film was shot in black-and-white in the Camargue district of southern France and the MGM British Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.[3]


Maniac was released by Hammer Film Productions on 20 May 1963 in the United Kingdom.[4] Released on Blu Ray by Mill Creek in 2018.

Critical reception

Andy Black wrote: "Maniac was written and produced by Jimmy Sangster, with Michael Carreras handling direction, and what an under-rated director he was. Donald Houston is George, an escapee from a French asylum (obviously Les Diaboliques had a big effect on Sangster, who also set Taste of Fear in France) who wants to kill his wife's lover. The wife is Nadia Gray, and the lover is Kerwin Matthews. Houston underplays, and also has a fetish for oxy-acetylene torches, with which he causes much panic. A brief 86 minutes and full of little twists and 'who's-behind-the-door' shocks, it really works first time you see it, but is not a film to watch repeatedly." [5]

Turner Classic Movies wrote "Maniac has excellent production values but labors under the weight of yet another gimmicky and obvious script by Jimmy Sangster...The acting is fine, especially that of Kerwin Mathews and Liliane Brousse.";[6] and in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote "Maniac has one thing and has it in spades—a plot of extraordinary cunning...(It) takes on a twitching suspense that simmers, sizzles and explodes in a neat backflip", though he concluded "Michael Carrera's direction is uneven and the characters are a generally flabby lot...Maniac remains a striking blueprint, with satanic tentacles, for a much better picture."[7]


  1. "Maniac (1963) | BFI". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  2. "BFI Screenonline: Hammer Horror". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  3. "Maniac (1963) - Articles". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  5. Andy Black. Fragments of Fear: An Illustrated History of British Horror Films. London: Creation Books, 1996, p. 98
  6. "Maniac (1963) - Home Video Reviews". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  7. Crowther, Bosley (31 October 1963). "Movie Review - Maniac - Screen: Dust of Nazism in Present-Day Germany:'Condemned of Altona,' Melodrama, Opens". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
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