31-days-of-hammerYoung Annette Beynat (Liliane Brousse) is raped by a neighbour. Annette’s father knocks out the man responsible, drags him to a shed and then kills the man with a welding torch. That’s how Hammer’s 1963 thriller Maniac starts.

The father is ruled insane by courts and institutionalized. Four years later Jeff Farrell (Kerwin Mathews) arrives in town and attracts both Annette and Annette’s step-mother Eve (Nadia Gray). Jeff falls for Eve and Eve visits her husband in the asylum. He agrees to a divorce if Jeff and Eve help him escape. Jeff agrees to help. And then things get complicated.

Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster loved twist endings more than M. Night Shyamalan and had quite the knack for them. The movie is deliberately paced and slow moving to start but then things really pick up and by the time you realize what’s really going on the movie is almost over. Hammer co-owner/producer and this film’s director Michael Carreras wasn’t quite as good a director as most of the people he employed but Sangster’s script holds the movie together and makes everything work.