Top 10 Genre Movie Cops!
How many of you are pumped to peep Eric Bana kicks some supernatural ass in DELIVER US FROM EVIL next week? We are for sure...especially considering how the Scott Derickson flick is based on an actual NYPD case file. F*cking craziness! In the flick, Bana plays a New York cop who must team up with a priest who has intimate knowledge on all things exorcism related, in order to solve a rash of grisly murders in the city. Sounds killer, right? Well, that got us to already projecting where Bana will fall in the pantheon of horror movie lawmen and lawwomen. Often a thankless role we associate with not just authority, but also, in most instances, a buzz-kill to the ghastly horror villains we love to root for. Think about it. Cops are supposed to be good guys, but in horror films, they often come off far less likeable than the culprits they chase. It's hard to like a cop in a horror movie. All that said, we've settled on a Top 10 Lawmen/Lawwomen in horror films that actually stand up to their odious perps. Cop a peek above to see who made the cut!
Of all the piggies on our list, the T-1000 is surely the evilest! Granted, he's not a lawman by nature, or even human for that matter. But the ever stealth chameleonic-bot wisely finds refuge in a police uniform...rising above suspicion and assuming a position of abused power. It's a perfect getup in that regard, made all the better by Robert Patrick's cold stoicism and rigid physical performance. Dude can outrun a goddamn cheetah, walk through walls, transmute his liquid alloy frame into any weapon or humanized disguise desired, and not even break a smile while doing it. He's lateral, rangy, unencumbered by the laws of nature. Hell, dude utters like 6 words throughout the whole film, yet remains as deadly and terrifying as any cop or any bad guy could hope to.
Ah yeah, you ready for some evil among this hardened harem of do-gooders? Well, look no further than the Maniac...MANIAC COP that is! Props to the great William Lustig for completely perverting and subverting the entire notion of what a police officer represents...instead of the well-intentioned good-guy, the public protector, here comes Matt Cordell as the utter incarnation of pure evil. My man straps on the police uni, stalks the streets at night, plucking off criminals and innocents alike, indifferent to any sort of moral code or compass. It's a frightening premise. And real shite, most horror sequels (or any sequel) take a massive step backwards from the original, but such is not the case with MANIAC COP. Part 2 ups the action-packed carnage and innumerable body-count, which includes a classic Bruce Campbell moment to boot.
Good Cop. Bad Cop. Big Trouble! What's a good police party without the Dolph?!? Seriously. I'm not sure how many of you have laid eyes on the 1990 alien-action-thriller I COME IN PEACE (aka DARK ANGEL), but Lundgren is in absolute top-form here! In typical vigilante cop fashion...Dolph operates on his own accord, ignoring the standard cop playbook, taking matters into his own hands when his partner is killed over a shipment of spoiled heroin. When a rash of grisly overdoses start plaguing the city, Jack Caine slowly unravels the mystery and discovers that a malefic alien force is behind the madness. But it's Dolph we're talking about here, so he doesn't fret so easily. If fact, dude uses his hulking 6'5'' frame to unleash a barbarous Swedish assault. 25 years later and Dolph is still undefeated!
Lending some much needed comic relief to his group of gruff contemporaries, Deputy Dewey in the SCREAM films is one of the most likeable horror movie cops in recent memory. Overcoming suspicion in the first film as a potential killer, his boyish charm and flirty banter with reporter Gale Weathers has been one of the more enjoyable, human storylines running through the SCREAM franchise. Of course, the off-screen item of Cox and Arquette only heightened the intimate interplay. Also, the fact that Dewey is sort of a bumbling man-child who at times proves more lucky than he is a capable cop makes him that much more sympathetic. That said, he's sneaky in his duties, often overlooked as a simpleton, which he uses to his benefit.
The great John Saxon could and should pull equal kudos for his double duties as sheriff in both BLACK CHRISTMAS and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET...two seminal and still sublime horror slashers of their generation. But in the end, we're saluting the latter in Lt. Donald Thompson, as he not only plays the town sheriff but father to our heroine Nancy as well. Double duties indeed! Factor in a more formidable foe in Freddy Krueger, and you can see why The Sax's role in ELM STREET earns the slight edge. Dude's gotta play the tender role of papa, protector, provider - but also punisher...and as John does with everything he's in...he does the job beautifully. Character actors take note, this is how it's done!
It's about time we lob some love at the two most memorable paranormal investigators to grace the small-screen: Scully and Mulder! True, the complimentary tandem appeared in a pair of pictures as well, but come on, The X-Files worked most of its wonders on the tube. Obviously, most of that had to do with the perfect pairing of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, the flirtatious, ever-at-odds couple that constantly blurred the lines between personal professional. And we love them for it! Props to Chris Carter for creating the show and shaping two complex characters, giving Dave and Gilly 10 quality years to fully flesh them out. Also for hiring a young Vince Gilligan, who would go on to gift us with Breaking Bad.
Don't fuck with the long arm of the law! One of the most underrated genre joints of the last couple has to be Pete Travis' DREDD, in which Karl Urban utterly killed the camp factor of the original and injected the title character with some much needed vitality. I mean, the Sly version is a harmless cartoonish B-movie guilty pleasure, sure, but the Urban update? Shite ain't fucking around! Far more faithful to the British comic strip in which the character originated, DREDD brings the hyper-violence and lethal law enforcement hardened fans expected two decades prior. My man drops the gavel with brute force, sweeping the streets of the underworld scum that's seeped through the surface. Sadly, the movie was a catastrophic bomb at the box-office, netting only $13 odd million against an estimated $50 million budget. A different kind of DREDD altogether!
So what did you guys think of Jose Padilha's ROBOCOP remake? Did you fully buy Joel Kinnaman as the right man to dust off and don the hard metal Peter Weller hung up two decades ago? Well whatever you thought of the redo as a whole, nothing changes the fact that Alex Murphy - half man, half robot - is and will always be one the most badass law-enforcers to ever hit the pavement. Dude's a steeled-up, tricked-out killing machine! It started with Paul Verhoeven's dark vision in 1987, grew a bit stale and campy with the 90s sequels, yet as an actual conceit about robotics becoming increasingly integrated with humanity...ROBOCOP '14 has never been more poignant (drones anyone!) Of course, it's the morality, the empathy and the humanity that shines through and differentiates the lethal cyborg as a force of good and not evil.
Separately, Mills and Somerset were heading in opposite directions. The first was just starting out in a new city, while the latter was only a few days away from retiring. But together, the formidable detective duo in SE7EN eventually led to the quasi-capture of Jon Doe, one of the most dangerous and disturbingly disillusioned serial killers ever put on film. In typical odd-couple fashion, the salty old vet and the brash upstart butted heads, having to win each other's respect before ultimately tackling the task at hand. The connecting link? Pretty little Gwynny and her lopped off noggin! And even then, the two dicks quibble over what constitute justice? Should Mills have blasted Doe in the dome? Or should he have heeded Somerset's advice, understanding that Doe would win if killed? Just one of many fascinating counterpoints to two of the best portrayed lawmen in horror.
Is he or isn't he? The long running mystery over whether or not Rick Deckard, the futuristic lawman in Ridley Scott's cyberpunk thriller BLADERUNNER, is in fact a replicant or a human being, has been puzzling people for over 30 years. But equally blurry is the line between Deckard's role of authority. Is he a cop or a criminal? Are they not mutually exclusive in the future? Such a fascinating gray area that's explored by Ridley, punctuated by what's possibly Harrison Ford's best performance. On one hand he plays the part with an icy detachment that would indicate replicant status, yet on the other hand expresses enough raw human emotion to elicit sympathy as a cool, neo-noir hero. It's a landmark film studded with one of the most iconic characters ever conceived. Now comes the hard part...recreating the impact in the long-awaited sequel!
We covet what we see every day! Jonathan Demme's ineffable masterwork SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is still the last film (only the third ever, and first horror) to net the Academy Awards Big 5: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Leading Actor and Actress. And let's be real, a ton of the credit must go to Jodie Foster's central character of Clarice Starling, the hungry FBI upstart of unparalleled moxie. And not just brawn and bravery, Starling's empathetic understanding and openness to communicate with the repellent Dr. Hannibal Lector is why she was able to suss, vet and ultimately catch Buffalo Bill in the end. It's a raw, emotionally exposed performance from Foster, which is far more rounded and multidimensional than most genre flick coppers. Starts on the page, ends with a two-time Oscar winner!
One thing's for certain, don't fuck with the cops of the future! Never more evident is this sentiment than in MAD MAX, in which Mel Gibson earned his name by shredding across a desolate Aussie wasteland and quashing every unruly goon in sight. Thing is, in a post-apocalyptic society where all rules and laws have been thrown out the window in favor of a life of plunder and survival...again, the line between what's just and what isn't becomes increasingly muddled. No matter for Max Rockatansky though, dude shoots from the hip, playing by his own set of no-holds-barred guidelines. Revenge becomes the ultimate motivation, which is a normal no-no for most cops, yet we wholeheartedly root for Mad Max to find the fuckers who whacked his partner and give them the proper treatment they deserve.