MANIAC COP (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Man, if there was ever a film fully encapsulated by its title, it’s this one: a hulking cop, possibly supernatural, goes on an innocent-people-killing rampage.
Is it good movie?
Written and produced by Larry Cohen, directed by Bill Lustig, starring Robert Z’Dar, Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, and Richard “Shaft” Roundtree. Okay, so we’re done here?
We’re not? You need more? What the hell?
Maniac Cop is a slim film, but definitely a case of less is more. The opening scene shows the beauty of its stripped down premise: a young barmaid is on her way home after her shift, and is accosted by two young hoodlums. Being the brassy bitch she is, she knocks them both down with the very purse they tried to steal, and hoofs it down the street. After a short chase, she is greatly relieved to find a police officer…and a big, hulking one at that. She runs right up to him, with no fear, but instead of being saved she is lifted off her feet, by her neck, and is whipsawed back and forth, leaving her quite dead.
This is followed by a series of murders, all of innocent people, all by this huge, lumbering, silent cop (Huge Face). Desperate for a scapegoat to ease the public, Officer Jack Forrest (the Chin) has the blamed pinned upon him after his wife is killed while he is off boning another chick. Detective Frank McCrae (Thrill Me!) knows better, and together with Jack’s squeeze sets out to discover the truth. Jack is freed when the killer actually shows up at the jail and starts offing cops, and it becomes up to him to figure out who the killer is, what he wants, and how to stop him.
Like I said, Maniac Cop is a paper-thin concept with a low budget, but goddamn if it doesn’t work. With the team behind the camera, and the team in front of it, it could hardly go wrong. The basic concept and austere execution (ha ha) make the movie dreadful, in the good sense of the word, and less exploitive than it would be in other hands. The kills are decent, and let me reiterate: the cast is fabulous. 23-years later, the film still holds up, and this new Blu-Ray transfer means you get to experience it again like you’ve never seen it before.
Also, be on the lookout for two notable cameos.
Video / Audio
Video: This high-def transfer is very impressive. Having seen the film on video and DVD prior to this review, I can say that it looks better here than it ever did before.
Audio: There are three audio tracks, all DTS HD audio: 6.2 surround, 4.0 surround, and 2.0 stereo. Oddly enough there are no subtitles at all.
Maniac Cop Memories: Interview with Robert Z’Dar: There are two things you can rest assured of: Z’Dar’s face has not gotten one millimeter smaller, and he has not gotten on iota less weird. A very interesting and informative interview.
Out the Window: Interview with Tom Atkins: You can never go wrong with Tom Atkins. He’s a fun, affable guy, and here he reveals that Night of the Creeps is his favorite role. You and everybody else, Tom.
Three Minutes with Danny Hicks: Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and this does make guessing one of the cameos I mentioned above a little easier to spot.
Animated Promotional Art Gallery: This is a three-minute slideshow of various posters done for the film over the years.
Additional Footage Filmed for Japanese TV Broadcast: I knew the film seemed shorter than I had remembered. Apparently the versions I had seen in the past included this extra footage. It is all stuff including the mayor and his assistant. Strange that they wouldn’t have just included a version of the film with this stuff spliced back in.
The special features are rounded out with a bevy of trailers: two theatrical trailers, one French trailer, two television spots, and one Spanish radio spot. Interesting, considering they chose not to do any Spanish subtitles for the film.
Maniac Cop is a great, stripped down horror film created by and starring a bunch of beloved horror icons. This Blu-Ray transfer looks and sounds impressive, and while I would have loved a commentary or two, still hosts a great selection of special features. It stands the test of time, and looks better here than it ever has before. I strongly suggest picking it up.