Dwain Atkins Esper
October 7, 1894
Snohomish, Washington, U.S.
|Died||October 18, 1982 88) (aged|
San Diego, California, U.S.
Dwain Atkins Esper (October 7, 1894 – October 18, 1982) was an American film director and producer of exploitation films.
A veteran of World War I, Esper worked as a building contractor before switching to the film business in the mid-1920s. He produced and directed inexpensive pictures with titles like Sex Maniac , Marihuana , and How to Undress in Front of Your Husband . To enhance the appeal of these low-budget features, he included scenes containing gratuitous nudity and violence that led some to label him the "father of modern exploitation."
Esper's wife, Hildagarde Stadie, wrote many of the scripts for his films.They employed extravagant promotional techniques that included exhibiting the mummified body of notorious Oklahoma outlaw Elmer McCurdy before it was acquired by Dan Sonney.
Maniac , also known as Sex Maniac, an exploitation/horror film directed by Esper, is a loose adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story "The Black Cat" and follows a vaudeville impersonator who becomes an assistant to a mad scientist.
It is considered by many film critics and historians to be the worst film of all time. Danny Peary believes that Maniac is the worst film made, Charlie Jane Anders of Gawker Media 's io9 described it as "possibly the worst movie in history" and Chicago Tribune critic Michael Wilmington wrote that it may be the worst film he had seen, writing: "There are some voyages into ineptitude, like Dwain Esper's anti-classic Maniac, that defy all reason." Rotten Tomatoes placed Maniac on its list of movies "So Bad They're Unmissable", the Italian Vanity Fair included the film on its list of the 20 worst movies, and it is featured in The Official Razzie Movie Guide .
Esper died in San Diego, California at the age of 88.He and Hildagarde had two childrenL Dwain Jr. and Millicent.
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Maniac, also known as Sex Maniac, is a 1934 black-and-white exploitation/horror film, directed by Dwain Esper and written by Hildagarde Stadie, Esper's wife, as a loose adaptation of the 1843 Edgar Allan Poe story "The Black Cat", with references to his "Murders in the Rue Morgue". Esper and Stadie also made the 1936 exploitation film Marihuana.
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