Necromaniac (2003) – By Brian Morton

 Most of the time when you think of a sequel, you think of a movie that’s just a rehashing of the original in order to make the studio a little money. Nothing new is going to happen and, most likely, it will be left open for a part 3, just in case. Well, that’s only partially true in the case of the sequel to Ron Atkins’ Schizophreniac, Necromaniac. This is a sequel that takes what the original gave us and then goes a little farther…maybe too far sometimes.

This movie picks up right where the original left off, Harry Russo is still on the loose in Las Vegas and he’s still a complete mental patient. The movie opens with Harry killing his neighbors and then having to go on the run. As he runs, he rants and raves and carries on, Ron does a great job at capturing the mental breakdown through visual as well as the performance by John Giancaspro. No matter where Harry is, or what he’s doing, it’s always likely that he’s going to explode into violence and mayhem, no one is safe, he even kills a newswoman on live TV!!

Necromaniac gives us a little more back-story for Harry, he was abused as a child and has slowly spiraled out of control. It also tries to give us a small connection to the original. If you’ll remember, one of Harry’s victims in Schizophreniac mentioned that his brother was a cop, well, that cop appears here, in Necromaniac, looking to avenge his brother’s death. The problem here is that, while we see that the cops are after Harry, we just never get the sense that they’re getting close. Harry never seems to be in any danger of being apprehended and there’s no sense that he may ever be caught. In fact, when the cops to find Harry, it’s complete happenstance! And, while John Giancaspro’s performance is just as strong as in the original, it may go too far, by the middle of the movie, I was getting tired of Harry’s psychotic rants and was ready for the relief of the story of the police investigation to find him (relief that was far too brief). Necromaniac takes all the charm and joy of the original and beats it down, like Harry beats down those "Hoo-ers". While the original gave us a reason for Harry to have snapped and run amok, the back story never quite measures up to the level of sheer strangeness that ensues once the movie begins!

Overall, I enjoyed the first two thirds of Necromaniac, but by the last half hour of the movie, I was feeling a little abused myself. Harry’s rants are unrelenting, and intentionally racist and hate-filled, and, while I’m sure this was Atkins’ intent (to show the unrelenting horror of psychosis), it just began to feel like it was too much, I went from being horrified by the ranting Harry, to being a little numb from all the hateful diatribes! Would I recommend Necromaniac? Yes, as a double feature with Schizophreniac, this would make a great evening of weirdness that my friends and me would probably enjoy with a few beers, but alone, Necromaniac doesn’t stand as strong as the original. You can check it out for yourself (if you dare!) by heading over to Cut Throat Video and you can get the original there too! So, until next time, when, hopefully the sight of Harry’s naked ass dancing in a dirt road will have been dimmed in my memory, remember that the best movies are bad movies!