Cinema: A White-Hot Plot

Maniac is a lethal little thriller that succeeds in spite of itself. The acting and direction are soso, and the character motivations cloudy. But the picture has an ingenious, neatly reticulated plot that packs some walloping surprises. An acetylene torch is the deadly weapon that keeps suspense sizzling.

In a creepy prologue, the terrors to come are capsuled in a roadside cafe owner's blazing vengeance on a rapist who attacks his daughter, lovely Liliane Brousse. For this, the father is adjudged insane and sent to an asylum. Four years later, itinerant Artist Kerwin Mathews...

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