We talk about scenery-chewing mad scientists, but nobody does it like 1934's Maniac anymore. Dr. Meirschultz is so excited about raising the dead, he's bellowing and rolling his eyes like a busload of Brian Blesseds.
Too bad Maxwell, the Vaudeville impersonator whom Meirschultz has blackmailed into finding a dead body for him, has failed in his task. This leads Meirschultz to propose killing Maxwell, so the mad doctor can resurrect him immediately afterwards. Maxwell decides to kill Meirschultz instead, leading to one of the film's numerous lectures on abnormal psychology (which were the reason this brazen exploitation film was ever allowed in theaters.) And then, to top it off, the murderous Maxwell sees bizarre visions, courtesy of an early 1920s film superimposed over Maniac's images - either Dante's Inferno or Haxan.
It all just goes downhill from here, into possibly the worst movie in history - yes, nothing in the succeeding 75 years probably comes close. Maxwell decides to disguise himself as Dr. Meirschultz, and makes some statements about trying to revive the dead mad scientist at some point - but he's mostly too busy injecting crazy people with water and scooping out cats' eyes and eating them. And then the film cuts, for long stretches, to scenes of women standing around in their underwear and having long conversations while doing the Charleston and pressing their clothes. Truly a classic. [Missing Link Classic Horror]