|DVD The Maniac Project
Run time: 75 min
Genres: Action | Comedy | Horror
Director: N. Andrew Elliot
Writers: Jay Boryczko, N. Andrew Elliot
Stars: Katherine Bell, George Bitsanis, Jay Boryczko
In a world in which Maniac Killers are so plentiful that they regularly stumble upon one another and fight to the death, an evil mastermind identifies a financial opportunity. He begins to round up 9 of the most notorious killers to battle in a custom built, camera saturated, wooded arena. So begins The Maniac Project, the greatest, grind-house style, exploitation, snuff movie ever conceived. Written by Anonymous
|Plot Keywords: exploitation, low budget, b movie, grindhouse|
Release Date: 21 September 2012 (USA)
If N. Andrew Elliott's The Maniac Project seems like a micro budget lark shot by a bunch of mates messing around on their weekends off, then that's because it is. But rather than seeing these things as short comings, Elliott (who aside from directing also acts, edits, co-produces and presumable made the tea) instead plays it for laughs, creating a virtue out of both his poverty row veneer and the broad scattershot of amateur actors mugging to the camera.
With shades of British TV classics like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Vic and Bob, here cheapness has become a deliberate aesthetic, creating an energetic and mad capped comedy with a knowing glint in its eye. Characters look like they're in cobbled together fancy dress costumes, scenes are shot in people's bedrooms and most of the actors talk in outrageous accents (which even the characters in the film find ridiculous).
And while the blood may flow (as expected in a film about a group of psychotic murderers lumped together into a Battle Royale-style competition) Elliott never wants us to take it seriously. Kill Boots kills with well a boot (which gives way to the awesome, Raimi-esque, point of view shot of a flying boot), there's a sinister lurking chair, some nicely edited gags (again mostly revolving around a flying, possessed boot) and a decent quota of laugh-out-loud one-liners. "You're mum would be proud of you too, if you hadn't killed her" being a particular highpoint.
If the film has flaws, it's that it too slavishly follows the template laid out by the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez directed Grindhouse from 2007. Like that film, here we have a digitally shot movie with fake film scratches, missing reels and trailers for films that don't exist. But unlike its predecessor, The Maniac Project doesn't have $53 million to spend (I think 53 pence might also have been a stretch) and so, in the end, becomes a more authentic piece of exploitation cinema.
And despite its surface cheapness, The Maniac Project has an amazing breadth, with Elliott packing his brisk running time with enough incident and locations (the Lake District backdrop is actually, surprisingly, filmed quite lovingly) to keep events moving. And when you start to quota in all the explosions, shots of gratuitous nudity, beheadings, special effects and insane comic book gore, the film actually starts to rise above its humble origins. This is homemade cinema on an epic scale it's like Lawrence of Arabia, only with more tits, less money and a fake Irishman with a possessed boot.