[Podcast] The Oily Maniac (1976) — Episode 70 — Decades of Horror 1970s

“Dig a big hole in the middle of the house?” It might sound crazy, but if you really want to become an oily maniac, that’s how the instructions begin. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan – as they slide their way through the pros and cons of The Oily Maniac.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 70 — The Oily Maniac (1976)

The Oily Maniac, aka You gui zi, is a Shaw Brothers production directed by Meng Hua Ho and written by Lam Chua. Starring Danny Lee, Ping Chen, and Lily Li, the film tells the story of Shen Yuan, a crippled man who pledges to protect the daughter of a man in prison. The woman’s father implores Shen Yuan to copy the tattoo on his back and to use the spell it describes to protect his daughter. Soon Shen Yuan is forced to invoke the tattoo’s spell and is transformed into … the oily maniac, an avenging superhero or a monster, depending on your point of view.

Doc Rotten often proclaims his love of (or should we say obsession with?) Asian horror films, so it should be no surprise that he brought The Oily Maniac to the Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew’s attention. Chad points out the cheezy costume looking like it’s dipped in oil, the exposed beating heart, and its teeth. Jeff mentions a vague similarity to The Greasy Strangler (2016) and Doc points out that the director of The Greasy Strangler lists The Oily Maniac as inspiration. Doc also loved the monster’s scream and the way it tried to do kung fu, slinging oily maniac goo around and then turning into a swimming goo-puddle, traveling to the theme of Jaws.

Bill did not appreciate the “exploity” nature of the film in regards to female nudity and rape, and would’ve enjoyed the film more if it was less sleazy. The rest of the crew agrees that it was uncomfortably exploitive and that the gratuitous sex and rape scenes prevalent in 70s grindhouse films like The Oily Maniac are even harder to view today.

The Grue Crew recommends the cheesy monster scenes in The Oily Maniac but it is not for everyone.

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk.

Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.