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RELEASED: 1988, Cert.18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 85 mins
DIRECTOR: William Lustig
PRODUCER/SCREENPLAY: Larry Cohen
MUSIC: Jay Chattaway
Bruce Campbell as Det. Jack Forrest
Tom Atkins as Det. Frank McRae
Laurene Landon as Theresa Mallory
Sheree North as Sally Noland
Richard Roundtree as Commissioner Pike
William smith as Capt. Ripley
FILM ONLY REVIEW
The film opens with a young woman being attacked by two muggers. She manages to break free from them....they give chase, but aren't able to catch her. Instead, they watch in horror as she is brutally attacked and killed by a man wearing a police uniform.
Over the next few days, various murders take place where the culprit is the strange, unknown man dressed as a cop, who seems immune to bullets when anyone fires a gun at him. He always manages to escape capture, slinking off into unknown whereabouts.
When Det. Jack Forrest is suspected of being the killer cop, his colleague and girlfriend (of the 'bit on the side' variety) collaborate, hoping to discover the murderer's true identity.
That sets the scene loosely, and as always, you must watch it yourself if you wish to find out what happens.
Maniac Cop starts off quite well, and my attention was caught immediately. The first few scenes are well presented, with this person wearing a police uniform committing some slasher-type murders. The killer's face isn't seen, and I liked the idea of people in some sort of trouble on the streets turning to him for help, viewing him as a trustworthy uniformed police officer, only to meet a bloody and fateful end at his hands.
I also liked the touch whereby it, after having been assumed that the mysterious cop must be someone from within the system, such gets leaked to the media, making the public wary of approaching or requesting help from all policemen, as at first, every cop is under suspicion. That part may have been a little overdone in the sense of the public perhaps panicking more than was necessary, but I still found it interesting.
Then, the film begins to move along some paths which become a bit crazy....still watchable and enjoyable, but ludicrous.
There is a fair bit of action - especially towards the end - in Maniac Cop, of the type which was typical of films made during both the 1970s and 1980s. I'm sure this will appeal to people who are fond of things like screeching car chases in their movies. I didn't mind it on this occasion, as although contrived, such action was appropriately placed and even if done for effect and sensationalism, still came across as quite entertaining.
All of the acting in Maniac Cop is pretty awful, and that's putting it mildly. However, it doesn't help that the script is below par, and it can't be easy for any acting cast to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - but, the hallmark of a good actor/actress, is to be able to do just that, and in Maniac Cop, they didn't quite manage it. Despite the acting and dialogue being very poor, strangely enough it didn't make me want to hurl something heavy through the screen, tear the DVD out of its socket with my teeth and throw it to the dogs. The entertainment value in the film was high enough to keep me interested from start to finish.
The film score is quite drastic-sounding stuff, largely comprising high-energy orchestrated music which is heavy on the percussion and screeching violins.
Being as Manic Cop falls within the category of slasher films, one may expect it to be all blood, guts and gore, and up to a point it is - but, probably due to its age, most of the visual aspects of the violence are fairly tame compared to what we have become used or even perhaps inured to in more recent years. There is one part of the film where a particular scene of violence is fairly graphic, but I got the feeling it was shoved in as a token gesture of sensationalism rather than with any intention to shock or disturb. With continuing regard to the violence, it is interesting that Manic Cop has been issued with an 18 certificate, but if it were to be released for the very first time today, I am certain the censorship rating would be reduced to 15.
Manic Cop is 85 or so minutes of sheer, almost mindless entertainment which is poorly acted, poorly produced and with a script that borders upon desperate, but is nonetheless very watchable and quite exciting in parts in a tacky, trashy sort of way. It put me very much in mind of one of those endless American cop shows which used to infest our TV screens during the 1970s and 1980s, the only difference being that Manic Cop has a bit more blood. If you can remember and enjoyed watching programmes such as NYPD Blue, Charlies' Angels and the like, then this film could be something you'd like. It's definitely (as I believe Noel Cowerd once observed about television) chewing gum for the eyes, but Manic Cop isn't an entire waste of 85 minutes, due to it being trashily enjoyable for the most part.
At the time of writing, Maniac Cop can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £6.83 to £22.05
Used: It appears that there are no used copies currently for sale
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
This is a late 80's movie about a Cop betrayed by the system, whom manages to be free and goes out on a killing spree. Unfortunately he does not care who he kills along the way for his revenge. The story is good, and the acting works well to portray these characters. This isn't a thinking movie, it is just a good ole fashioned actionish gore movie. It is the first of 3 movies and I'll be watching the other 2 tonight, to review after this.
Story (May contain spoilers)
A woman being mugged, manages to escape the muggers, while running and being chased, she spots a cop and runs towards him, but when she gets there she is in for a surprise. He is looking like Mike Meyers has just been made into a cop.... in fact that's pretty close as he picks her up by her neck and snaps it like a twig.... The muggers just stood there watching.
Naturally all witnesses saw was that two kids, the muggers, had tried to attack her and had run after her chasing her, however Lieutenant Frank McCrae believes it was a cop, as two kids couldn't actually do the damage to her, mean while across town this same cop attacks a driver, but luckily the passenger gets away to report it to the police.
The police want to suppress the information about it being a cop, but Frank decides to let it out to the press, whom report it. The problem that this causes is that citizens start shooting cops, and people start accusing every cop who gave them a parking ticket.
Now Jack Forest enters the scene, he is a cop whos marriage is on the rocks, currently having an affair. Jack goes out on duty and his wife who has been suspecting him of doing these murders, follows him, to bust in on him with another cop. After they all leave Jacks' wife is killed in the very room, he has been set up. The only copy who believes him is Frank, luckily Frank saves the only witness to Jacks' innocence.
Now is the big hunt to get the serial killer cop. The problem is everyone else still believes it is Jack.
A whole bunch of misfortune goes along the way trying to prove who truly is the killer.
Will Jack get his innocence proven? Will the Mayor own up to what happened? Who is the killer?
This movie is simple enough to watch in the background of doing something else. Being an old movie it doesn't have the special effects we are used to today, but it does have good acting and a good story. This is well worth watching, however personally I wouldn't go out and buy the DVD I'd wait for sky or zone horror to be showing this movie to watch it.
I saw this one some time in the mid 90's and picked it up in a cheap shop so I thought it wasn't going to be up to much good but I gave it a go anyway.
Well, I was wrong..."dead" wrong!
This is a tight little horror/thriller film about a maniac dressed as a cop killing innocent people on the streets.
Bruce Campbell stars in this and he soon gets framed for all the murders and has to prove his innocence by finding out who the maniac cop is and why he's doing what he does.
Tom Atkins also stars in this and, as always, the veteran actor does a great job playing someone that helps Campbell's character to prove his innocence.
For a low budget, quite unknown film, the cast is surprising, I have to say.
Even former boxer Jake Lamotta makes a cameo at the beginning after the Maniac Cop's first killing as a detective!
The Maniac Cop's main theme music is quite chilling and memorable and really fits the movie and Robert Z'Dar's performance as the psycho is brilliant! He's got an intimidating presence about him and his character kills people with absolutely no remorse!
Back to Bruce Campbell, he's in a serious role for once so he plays it straight all the way through, which is strange, for him but he does an excellent job.
Just don't expect any kind of light-hearted Evil Dead moments in here.
Without ruining the killer's motives in this film, let me just say it's back story for the killer is above average for this sort of film and it may change your thoughts about the maniac about halfway through the film.
It's pretty gory, not ridiculously gory as Friday 13th and the kills are serious, not campy as in those Jason movies.
The pace is good, never really letting up but the movie is only around an hour and 25 minutes so it knows that it needs to move along swiftly.
This spawned two more sequels, the next one being more fun than this one...one of those rare sequels that is possibly superior to the original.
I know the region 2/UK cover art makes it look cheap but if you can, pick up Anchor Bay's region 1 DVD if you have a multi-region player.
It has a good amount of features including commentary and an interview with the maniac himself!
Maniac Cop is something of an obscure B-movie from the late 1980s, starring now legendary Bruce Campbell, who was by then slowly coming to fame with Sam Raimi's help in the Evil Dead films. This isn't great cinema, but it is mildly amusing, and certainly well directed by Larry Cohen, who is most famous for his killer-baby film It's Alive and also his screenplay for Phone Booth.
The film begins as a series of strange murders keep occuring around the city, with a female witness describing him as a large, hulking police officer. A Detective (Tom Atkins) firmly believes that the killer is a disgruntled, mentally disabled member of the police force, while his superior (Richard Roundtree) argues that it is probably just a vigilante dressed as a cop for laughs and for confusion purposes. However, this sends them on a winding investigation that finds them investigating their own police force as well as the fate of one former cop believed dead.
The prime suspect is Bruce Campbell's character, a cop with dodgy morals, although Atkins' character believes that he is, in fact, innocent, and a decoy used to distract from the real culprit. Campbell must then escape jail to take down the REAL Maniac Cop before it is too late and more bodies are strewn in his wake.
Although mostly a cliched slasher, the investigative aspect is mildly original and makes it a tad more diverting than the numerous horror sequels that plagued the 80s. This 80s B-movie horror benefits from the presence of Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins and Richard Roundtree, and although it's nothing more than recycled slasher formula, it has some amusing charm, and features better direction than it deserves courtesy of Larry Cohen.
'You always take a leak with a gun in your hand? That's a good way to blow your balls off!'
On the streets of The Big Apple people are being brutally slain by a man disguised as a NYPD policeman. As the death toll begins to creep up and up City Hall begins to cover up the truth. Leading the investigation is battered cop Frank McCrae, he thinks they've got the wrong man and seeks to track down the Maniac Cop and get there before he strikes again.
Maniac Cop really didn't make a huge amount of sense. There really wasn't any real motive for the 'maniac's' actions. I could understand it if he wanted to kill everyone who done him wrong, but he just seemed to kill indiscriminately and with little regard for who it is. Plus the guy turns out to be quite elderly and makes the whole exercise seem a little far-fetched.
Maniac Cop was obviously very cheaply made and unfortunately it shows. The colours are faded and grainy and when the murders happen at night it's actually very difficult to make out what is going on.
The film seems to have generated quite an appeal over the years and has secured itself 'cult' status. Quite what that means I'm not so sure. I suppose not a huge number of people have seen it, but are interested. Enough apparently to secure two sequels (with Bond baddie Robert Davi).
Director William Lustig was obviously very passionate about the film, making the movie very cheaply and guerrilla style on location. There is talk of a remake and I suppose given the right setting there is a decent idea here - but this film didn't really realise it well enough.
I couldn't possibly recommend Maniac Cop at all really. Its pasty colour scheme and poor lighting make it difficult to watch and very difficult to enjoy. Maybe the sequels are better, but I'm very unwilling to investigate - life is too short for bad films.
New York City and there is a killer on the streets. He is attacking ordinary innocent people and the inhabitants of the City don't know who to turn to, or trust because the killer is dressed as a cop. Detective Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) is investigating the murders and believes it's not just somebody wearing a uniform but a member of the force, New Yorks finest. McCraes theory seems confirmed when the latest victim is found, and her diary implicates her husband Officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) of being the maniac cop. As he fights to clear his name, with the help of McCrae they stumble across a cover up of corruption involving the Police Commissioner and the New York City Mayor. They had set up a police officer, Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar). He was a brutal cop but not corrupt, he was sent to prison. Whilst in prison he was savagely attacked and left for dead, his face, body and hands badly slashed. The prison doctor realised that he could not survive another attack and with the help of Cordell's girlfriend Sally Noland (Sheree North), they get him out of prison. Now Cordell is out for revenge on those who set him up and nothing will stop him from doing this.
I originally had this on VHS, it was made back in 1988. I recently saw it for sale on dvd and had to get it. Watching it now it seems dated but it is still a good horror-thriller. The film is written and produced by Larry Cohen, who also wrote Phone Booth, and is directed by William Lustig, nephew to Jake LaMotta. Jake and Sam Raimi both make cameo appearances in the film. The cast includes Tom Atkins a horror veteran who was most recently seen in My Bloody Valentine 3D, Bruce Campbell; Sam Raimi regular, Robert Z'Dar arguably one of the most distinctive faces ever on screen and I remember him from Tango & Cash.
The opening titles are good, a close up shots of police officer putting on uniform, I think this influenced a sequence in Jamie Lee Curtis film Blue Steel, directed by Kathryn Bigelow in 1990. Also a great sequence in the film is Matt Cordells flashback to his attack in the prison, really well shot and explains so much with no dialogue; reminded me of a John Woo sequence.
Maniac Cop is dated but has a charm to it because of the 1980s. The big hair, big shoulder pads, big mullets and the soundtrack created with 1980s New Wave favourite the synthesizer; which probably ended up being used in majority of 80s films are all present.
The film does well to maintain a tension throughout the film by not letting the audience see Cordells face but instead seeing the victims reaction. Cordell reminded me of unstoppable Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.
The reveal at the end, is a laugh out loud momement because the make up is not great, but overall I really enjoyed this film including dodgy acting, dodgy dialogue it is still a cool film to have. It also spawned 2 sequels, and the make up did get better!! Maniac Cop is not to be missed
Tag Line: 'You Have The Right To Remain Silent...Forever!'
Tom Atkins - Detective Frank McCrae
Bruce Campbell - Office Jack Forrest
LauRene Landon - Theresa Mallory
Richard Roundtree - Police Commissioner Pike
William Smith - Captain Ripley
Robert Z'Dar - Matt Cordell (aka Maniac Cop)
Shree North - Sally Noland
Running Time: 90 minutes
The dvd extras was a little disappointing no subtitles, no other languages, no extras like interviews the only additions were 4 trailers including Maniac Cop, Red Scorpion, Basket Case 2 and Frankenhooker.
Last year my mate left his copy of Maniac Cop at my house one night. So i decided to watch it and found it to be quite a good film indeed. Firstly the film was made in America in 1988 by director William Lustig and writer Larry Cohen. The following stars in the film are Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, William Smith, Jake La Motta and the Maniac Cop himself Robert Z'Dar. On the streets in New York was a cop called Matt Cordell. He was the meanest, biggest, baddest, hardest cop of them all. When ever there was trouble he was sure to be found. He was the most loyal, hard working, dedicated police officer of them all. One day however he finds out that all the top officers and judges in the city are involved in foul play. Being the honest police man he was, he was determined to bring them down. When he reports them, they realise that they are in serious trouble. So they decide to frame him for crimes he never commited. He is then sent to a prison where he has sent almost all of those prisoners away. So you can only guess that they are more than happy to see him in their. One day when he is in the shower, three or four of them find him in the showers alone. They then take him from behind and he starts fighting them off. However one of them then stabs in him in the back and the others continue to stab and slice his face up till hes dead. He is later pronounced dead but some how comes back to life. This is the start of the Manic Cop. When he comes back to life he is in some state. His face is all cut up and hes unable to talk. He is so angry on how he has been treated that he decides to take revenge against the city. So he starts killing innocent people where ever he goes. After he kills a number of people, two cops find out that he is behind the killings. However no one belives them as they all think hes dead. They then start to blame those two cops and put a warrant out fo
r their arrests. They get arrested and whilst in the cells, Maniac Cop pays a visit to the station. Killing every cop in sight. They manage to escape and make him follow them to the harbour. There is a small fight between them and when Maniac Cop tries to escape, Bruce Campbell who is one of the cops, makes him drive straight through a large spikey pole which sticks in him and drives straight into the harbour. The police do a search of the water but he is no wheres to be seen. So you can only assume there is a sequal ? This film has both bad points to it. Firstly you never see Matt Cordell when he was a cop. You only learn about him when the cops find out about him. Another thing is you only see him as a dead cop except for when he is dreaming about the bit in the shower. Overall a good film to watch and i would also recommend watching the second one too.
Maniac Cop is a real thriller from the start. A cop is going around killing people, and people become scared, so they kill innocent cops. The police arrest their main suspect but little do they know, the is Matt Cordell, a trigger happy cop beleived to be dead. He was sent down for murder, the mates didn't like an ex-cop and was beaten, and pronounced dead. But the doctor about to perform an autopsy was amazed to find him alive, but barely. Matt Cordell was a hero cop, so he saves him and brings him back from the grip of death. He now knows if word gets out, he will be sent back to prison and be killed, so there is a cover up and Cordell walks free. But the now insane cop, wants revenge on the world that betrayed him, and with the advantage of been "dead," whos going to stop him?
Maniac Cop come about when Larry Cohen asked William Lustig why he had never made a sequel to 1980's Maniac. Lustig replied that there wasnt much of a plot to continue the story, but the conversation continued, keeping in mind the current box office hits of "Robocop" and "Beverly Hill Cop" theny came up with Maniac Cop and the film was born. The film was finished in 1988 and include one of the finest horror actors ever, Bruce Campbell, who is always under used and was never ever in enough films. Maniac Cop is about a cop called Cordell who was a hard hitting officer, who discovered that the council was a bit bent so they set him up and put him in prison. In prison he is beaten up by the prisioners and eventually killed....or so we think. A cop is killing people on the street but all suspicion points to Bruce Campbells character, so it comes down to Bruce to prove that hes not the killer and that Matt Cordell is back from the dead. This movies is an above average slasher flick becasue it tries to build suspense a rare thin in 80s horror. Recommended if your bored one evening or just like horror films.