Written by: Tara Mae Jackson
Directed by: Craig J. McIntyre
Cast: Celeste Marie Martinez, Randy Tobin
Independent films can often turn up some rather creative and imaginative ideas, they are usually less limited and restrained, and can often pack a pretty good punch in the gut. LA Maniac (a.k.a. The Los Angeles Ripper) is definitely one of those unrestrained gut punchers. Even though it was a Troma Team Release, whom I’m sure many of the horror and gore comedy fans are all too familiar with, I still don’t think this movie has garnered the attention it deserves. Upon viewing this film for the first time recently, my expectations not necessarily high, I was honestly elated to find that it wasn’t just another unrealized dud!
As common with truly low budget films you see in the credits that a lot of the crew did multiple jobs, especially the writer/director Craig J. McIntyre who had his hand in nearly every aspect of the film, from cinematography, music, production, and editing. Even the actors are often involved in some of the other aspects that go into the film’s final product. It is always refreshing, to me, to see people really stand behind their work, and pour their very heart into getting their vision realized, and finding the end result satisfying and applause worthy! I can honestly say I feel that LA Maniac reflected all the hard work from its director, and at times captured his vision in some unexpected ways.
The story itself follows an LA newcomer with stars in her eyes named Kristy, who is staying with her cousin and rather dysfunctional aunt. Encountering a drug dealing friend of her cousins at a party proves fateful as she begins to be exposed to the seedier side of LA pretty quickly. Said drug dealer and resident maniac Grahm becomes a little obsessed with Kristy to say the least, and as he stalks her, the bodies of his other female encounters begin to pile up.
LA Maniac, is not an entirely serious movie, as you will find yourself outright laughing at times, mostly at some of the unexpected moments that really just take this film to the next level and keep it from being easily brushed off and forgettable. Also notable is actor Randy Tobin’s role as Grahm in this film, he nailed that role so well, and believably that you truly felt he must be one of the most off-putting and creepy scum bags you could ever meet. I found Tobin’s performance to be a treat in the end, and found some of the “they really went there” moments to be surprisingly entertaining.
If you enjoy independent, low budget, gut punching films then I would definitely suggest giving this movie a go. I think supporting independent movies is something, as true fans of cinema, we must do, because that is where our true freedom on screen can be more easily expressed and unrestrained. Supporting a movie like this one, which is pure fun, to me shouldn’t even be a question. It is fantastic to find films like this out there, and I believe they deserve more of an audience.