Christmas. It can be a little horrifying can’t it? We’re not even a week into December and yet we’ve seen city centres swarming with bargain-crazed citizens, windows washed with woven decorations, and lists. Lists and lists and lists. So here at Impact Film & TV, we’re continuing with our own list. Day six hosts a hark back to Halloween…
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, apparently. For music artists Kid Cudi and Cage in the 2011 short film Maniac, their desired holiday activities may be a slight deviation from societal norms as they play fictional versions of themselves: serial killers, whose goal of the night is to kill eight people each whilst a camera crew stalks their every step.
Directed by Shia LaBeouf, Maniac is a creation inspired by Cudi’s track of the same name (featuring Cage) on his depressingly good second studio album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. However, LaBeouf’s direction veers away from the inward psychosis expressed in the song, and instead is unhinged outwardly in its depiction of senseless, brutal killings by two men who speak French, for no real purpose other than to be artsy.
Released for Halloween, set at Christmas, and unsettling all year long, Maniac is really neither good nor bad. It just exists
Nicely shot and hesitant to hide its sadistic visuals, the documentary-esque monochrome superficiality resembles a fictional vérité style, whose contrasts between black and white, cast and crew, Christmas and chaos, are juxtapositions that make this arguably needless film a startling watch if not much else.
Released for Halloween, set at Christmas, and unsettling all year long, Maniac is really neither good nor bad. It just exists.
Watch the ten minute short here: