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Frank Zito is the prime antagonist of the 1980 horror film Maniac, and its 2012 remake.
In the 1980 original film, he was portrayed by the late Joe Spinell. In the 2012 remake, he was portrayed by Elijah Wood, who played another serial killer Kevin in Sin City - playing the role of a different interpretation of Frank.
Role in the film
Frank Zito is a middle-aged, overweight, Italian-American loner living in an unspecified borough of New York City, where he works as the landlord of a small apartment complex. Unbeknownst to his tenants, Frank is a schizophrenic serial killer who spends his nights stalking and killing women, scalping them and bringing the scalps and their clothing back home to decorate his steadily growing supply of mannequins. Once a mannequin has been decorated to his satisfaction, Frank sleeps with it for several nights, using them to carry on one-sided conversations with his deceased mother, an abusive prostitute who subjected him to years of physical abuse before dying in a car accident and leaving him orphaned. Inexplicably, after several nights, Frank grows tired of each mannequin, posing them around different parts of his apartment before seeking out another victim. This could be due to the fact that he feels an urge to kill again relatively quickly, something which he knows has to stop, yet he is unable to control his impulses.
One afternoon, Frank sees that his picture has been taken by a fashion photographer named Anna. Getting her name off of the luggage tag she keeps on her purse, Frank tracks her down, but is impressed enough with her artwork that rather than kill her, he begins dating her. While visiting her on the set of her latest photo shoot, he is so taken with Rita, one of Anna's models, that he steals a piece of Rita's jewelry, using it as a pretext to come to her apartment later that night so that he can kidnap her. Frank takes Rita home and ties her to the bed, where he addresses her as his mother, declaring his undying love for her before stabbing her to death. He then mutilates her body and disposes of it, later attending the funeral with Anna.
His grip on reality quickly deteriorating, Frank takes Anna to his mother's grave one night on the way to the movies. At the cemetery, Frank tries to kill Anna, but she wounds him with a shovel left lying by a freshly dug grave and escapes. Frank begins suffering disorienting, disturbing hallucinations of his mother's corpse rising up from its grave and of his mother beckoning to him from her bed. He returns to his apartment, where he has a vision of the mannequins transforming into the vengeful reanimated corpses of his victims and tearing his body apart.
The next morning, two police detectives, apparently alerted by Anna, break down the door to Frank's apartment. They find him on his bed, bleeding from the stomach as the result of a self-inflicted knife wound following the disturbing hallucination. The detectives, upon seeing Frank's mannequin collection, leave the apartment, at which point Frank opens his eyes. His fate is left unknown.
Frank Zito is a mentally scarred man who has taken over his family's mannequin sales business after the recent death of his mother from cancer who also moonlighted as a prostitute. Frank's childhood experiences of seeing his mother bring home clients or being taken out with her to turn tricks has left Frank unable to enter into relationships with women, and his sexual impulses tend to turn into violent urges that Frank externalizes as his mother's will. Struggling to come to grips with his mother's treatment of him, and spurred by memories of his mother brushing her hair before going out at night, Frank murders, and scalps a woman one night, attaching her hair to a mannequin that he then keeps in his bedroom. Frank joins an online dating site, where he meets a girl The two eventually meet up for a date.
The pair go to her apartment, where she attempts to seduce Frank Frank, is overwhelmed by homicidal impulses, Though he attempts to control himself, Frank eventually strangles and then scalps the girl. Frank takes her hair back to his apartment, where he attaches it to another mannequin One morning, Frank meets a photographer named Anna taking photos of the antique mannequins he is restoring The two develop a friendship, with Frank agreeing to help Anna put together an art exhibit using his mannequins. Frank begins to fall in love, with her and becomes more aggressive about trying to control his urges, attempting to take pharmaceuticals to quiet his impulses. Nonetheless, one night he stabs a woman to death in a parking lot once again, he scalps her and attaches her hair to a mannequin in his bedroom Frank soon learns that Anna has a boyfriend, sending him into an emotional tailspin. Frank meets Anna's boyfriend, who takes an instant disliking to Frank and calls him a homosexual. Frank also meets Anna's mentor, Rita who In a drunken state, starts teasing him for his interest in mannequins.
Frank follows Rita home, thinking she is his mother and hog-tying her on her bed. Frank begins expressing his rage for her treatment of him Frank flies into a rage and scalps Rita while she is still alive Several nights later, Frank calls Anna, who tells him of Rita's murder and of a fight she had with Jason, resulting in a breakup. Frank comes to Anna's apartment, where he attempts to comfort her. Anna expresses feelings of guilt for Rita having been murdered following her show, which Frank dismisses by saying that Rita lived nearby and that she knew the risks of her own neighborhood. Anna becomes suspicious that Frank knows where Rita lived. While trying to cover for himself; Frank confesses to Anna by revealing the murdered victims' gender as female. Fully aware that the police had not disclosed the victims' gender to the public yet; Anna realizes that Frank is the killer. Anna stabs Frank through the hand with a knife before locking herself in her bedroom. Anna's neighbor, Martin, breaks into the apartment to save her, only for Frank to kill him with a meat cleaver, Breaking down Anna's bathroom door, Frank puts her into a choke hold and knocks her unconscious.
At his apartment, Frank attempts to remove Anna from the back of his van; Anna, having regained consciousness, ambushes Frank and stabs him in the stomach with a mannequin hand Anna flees and is picked up by a passing car, who panics at the sight of Frank who has blood all over him and runs him down in his car. who hits Frank, and crashes flinging Anna through the windshield. A bloodied Frank hobbles to the mortally wounded Anna and scalps her as she dies. Frank returns to his apartment, attaching Anna's hair to a mannequin dressed in a bridal gown. Dying from his injuries, Frank suffers hallucinations of the mannequins transforming into his victims and tearing his body apart, finally ripping off his face to reveal a mannequin head. Before he dies, Frank sees Anna, clad in a wedding dress, lower her veil and turn her back on him. Later that day, the cops break into Frank's apartment, only to find Frank dead in his closet.