Also known as: The Fanatic (UK), Love to Kill (Germany), Fanatico (Spain), Fanatismo Letal (Venezuela), Fanatical Extreme (US video title)
Release Date: October 9th, 1982 (Spain – Sitges Film Festival)
Directed by: David Winters
Written by: Judd Hamilton, Tom Klassen, David Winters
Music by: Jeff Koz, Jesse Frederick
Cast: Caroline Munro, Joe Spinell, Judd Hamilton, Filomena Spagnuolo, David Winters, Susanne Benton
Shere Productions, Winters Hollywood Entertainment Holdings Corporation, Troma Entertainment, 87 Minutes
“I’ve seen enough fake blood to know the real thing when I see it.” – Jana Bates
I recently revisited Maniac, which starred Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro. I knew about this movie, which also starred both of them and came out just two years later. I’ve never seen it but since I cherish both actors, I figured that seeing this was long overdue.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, I just knew that a New York City cab driver goes to the Cannes Film Festival in France due to his obsession over a film starlet.
One thing I didn’t expect from this was the comedy element. But I actually enjoy it quite a bit, as it lets Spinell really ham it up. The scenes between him and his mother, who is played by his real life mom, were funny as hell and their personal chemistry comes through in a very charming way.
Side note: For those that don’t know, Spinell was really close to his mom and despite his life as a character actor and party animal, he always kept his mom close. Little did I know that he actually included her in one of his films.
Beyond that, I really like Spinell and Caroline Munro when they’re together. This is the third time they’ve been in the same movie after Maniac and the cheap Italian Star Wars ripoff, Starcrash.
The really cool thing about this movie, is that like Maniac, it almost has giallo notes to it. Plus, setting it in Cannes and filming it during the festival created an awesome and unique atmosphere for something so dark, violent, gory and borderline slasher-y.
Additionally, the filmmakers rely on your knowledge of Spinell’s past characters, specifically his role in Maniac, to play off of and to set up a really good twist ending that you won’t see coming.
Seeing this, I was surprised to find out that I actually prefer it to Maniac, even though it’s nowhere near as well known and was sort of lost to time for a few decades before Troma decided to dust it off and distribute it on DVD.
Pairs well with: Maniac, which also stars Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro, as well as other late ’70s and early ’80s horror and slasher films.