It's the Booze Talkin'; We can't wait for Nicolas Winding Refn's Maniac Cop!

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I love movies. In fact, I tend to appreciate all kinds of genres and styles. And of course, I have a massive soft spot for all things horror. There’s something else that I generally connect to; it’s a filmmaker who doesn’t always take the obvious path. Whether you are talking David Lynch, Ken Russell or someone like Denis Villeneuve who gave us his stunning take on BLADE RUNNER 2049, it’s especially satisfying for this viewer to see something truly unique and unusual. And then there is Nicolas Winding Refn; the man behind BRONSON, VALHALLA RISING, DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES and THE NEON DEMON certainly fits into the weird and wonderful category.

What fascinates me about Refn is the way he explores his subject, and how they exist in the world around them. Whether it’s Ryan Gosling witnessing the brutality that surrounds him in both ONLY GOD FORGIVES and DRIVE, or Elle Fanning who finds herself caught up in desperation and betrayal in THE NEON DEMON, it’s usually at the very least intriguing. While I’m sure there are many who don’t enjoy his deliberately languid and strange stylings, it’s something that I adore. I appreciate a filmmaker who doesn’t quite play by the rules, and makes risky and challenging choices for an audience that is willing to play along. And now, his vision of the cult classic MANIAC COP is actually going to see the light of day.

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As a kid, I had the pleasure of discovering the MANIAC COP franchise on video. In fact, finding the original 1988 thriller was a massive treat for this movie geek. First of all, you have a cast that includes Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Richard Roundtree and Robert Z’Dar - I actually had the chance to work with the late, great actor years and years ago. Secondly, you have one hell of a cool and brutal feature about a psycho dressed in a policeman's uniform killing innocent people in New York City. This cult classic led to MANIAC COP 2 in 1990, and starred Robert Davi and Claudia Christian as well as MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE in 1993 which brought back Davi and Z’Dar.

If you look at the MANIAC COP franchise, Refn’s name is not one you’d probably think of automatically. The auteur’s slow and colorful style doesn’t necessarily scream B-movie action. Yet that, to me, is what is so damn appealing about the idea. What can a filmmaker known for such stylish yet strangely vicious flicks like DRIVE bring when it comes to the level of action expected from a freaky story about a killer cop? Well, frankly, you can see a bit of it in DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES, and his other films as well. Refn isn’t afraid to take chances, and when he presents brutality and violence in his films, frankly it’s generally unforgettable. Even if you aren’t sold on his vision of this particular franchise, I’d reckon that it would be at least sort of tempting to see where he goes with a thriller such as this.

It's the Booze Talkin, Maniac Cop, Nicolas Winding Refn, action, horror, JoBlo.com, AITH, Arrow in the HeadIt’s been a few years since this idea seemed to spark in Refn’s talented head, but recently we’ve learned that it’s finally coming to fruition. Yes, Nicolas Winding Refn is finally bringing his take on this series to audiences, but not exactly in the way we’d expected. Thanks to HBO, the director will be the show runner for what they are calling an “event series” where he and John Hyams will share directorial duties. While the films were centered in New York City, Hyams and Refn are bringing their probably quite brutal vision to Los Angeles. Here’s a little info of what we can expect from the upcoming series:

"told through a kaleidoscope of characters, from cop to common criminal. A killer in uniform has uncaged mayhem upon the streets. Paranoia leads to social disorder as a city wrestles with the mystery of the exterminator in blue – is he mere mortal, or a supernatural force?"

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’; but Nicolas Winding Refn is the perfect choice for Maniac Cop. While his filmmaking style doesn’t necessarily seem to be in tune with the violent, exploitation vibe of the original films, the man certainly has an interesting take on intense and horrifying content. Currently, the director has a mini-series called Too Old to Die Young on Amazon Prime, so perhaps we can get an idea of what to expect from that. Either way, I’m personally very excited to see how he mixes his colorful palate of stylish violence and oddity into a story like this. Will it be weird? More than bloody likely. I also happen to think it’ll be something worth investing in. What do you think? Are you ready for MANIAC COP from Nicolas Winding Refn? Let us know in the comments below.

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