on 28 March 2014
Innocent people are being brutally murdered on the streets of New York by a uniformed police officer.
As the death toll rises and City Hall attempts a cover-up, Frank McCrae heads the investigation.
A young cop, Jack Forrest, finds himself under arrest as the chief suspect, having been the victim of a set-up by the real killer and a mysterious woman phone-caller.
Forrest, his girlfriend Theresa, and McCrae set out to solve the puzzle before the Maniac Cop can strike again....
One of those movies from the eighties you come across once in a while and you just have to watch it for the sheer stupidness of it all.
From the cops deciding it's another cop more or less straight the way, you really have to take a movie like this with a huge pinch of salt.
If you can overlook the plot holes, you are treated to a lovely piece of work by Lustig, the days before CGI was imperative to this sort of movie, and when stunts were done without the use of green screen.
It's also one of the last films Campbell was in before he became self aware and mocked his own career. Atkins is great in this and Z'dar, the man with the chin, has his signature role here.
It's flawed, certainly, but it's fun, and the sequels are just as good too.
on 7 April 2014
I picked this bad boy up about two years ago and have recently began writing reviews so I thought I'd chip in my two cents.
The packaging; As usual Arrow defy the adage "it's on the inside that counts" with it's tasty presentation of Maniac Cop. This edition comes with a four-sided reversible sleeve, a 15 page collectors booklet and a double sided poster with the original theatrical poster artwork on one side and an all new artwork on the other side. 8/10
Video quality; This is by far the best Maniac Cop has looked to date. The picture looks crisp with a small amount of grain, there is plenty of detail, some white flecks appear from time to time but this is in no way an issue. 8.5/10
Audio quality: This release features a very promising stereo soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and balanced whilst the musical score sounds great. The only niggle with this is that during the action scenes the lack of bass leaves the audio a little flat. 7.5/10
The film itself; I first came across this movie when I saw the trailer for it on my VHS copy of retribution. Maniac Cop is an entertaining film which delivers the goods. Written by Larry Cohen(The Stuff and Phonebooth) and directed by William Lustig(Maniac) the film features great performances by Bruce Campbell and the ever reliable Tom Atkins with Robert Z'Dar giving a convincing performance as the titular protagonist. Maniac Cop is an enjoyable amalgam of the action, horror and mystery genres with great set pieces and a interesting plot. 7/10
Special features; plenty to extra's for your amusement here including interviews with Cohen and Lustig, as well as retrospectives and three original trailers. There is also an exclusive introduction to the film by B-movie legend Tom Atkins.
All in all Maniac Cop is an enjoyable, fun flick which delivers great performances on a modest budget. My only minor qualm with this release is that it is missing the alternate ending(to which I had become accustomed too on my DVD copy). I recommend this film and highly recommend the sequel, which ups the ante, and in my opinion is the better of the two.
Overall I give this Arrow release a solid 8/10
If you enjoyed this then be sure to check out my other reviews :)
I love the fact that so many of my favourite films are being upgraded to Blu Ray compared to when it was first introduced and only your standard blockbuster was released.
I pre-ordered Maniac cop a few months ago when it was first announced and at the time I watched my synergy DVD release. A few months later my blu ray copy arrived and the difference in picture quality is outstanding. The DVD release was old and dirty and was just about passable. Arrow have really cleaned this release up and it looks great.
When you add all the extras including the mini poster, booklet, reversible sleeve (it's the little things some times) and extras you feel like you're getting good value for your money.
The plot, well I'll leave that for anyone who hasn't watched this film before to find out for themselves and no need to remind fans of the film what happens.
5 Stars from me.
on 9 August 2012
A few years after making one of the greatest exploitation films ever (Maniac), Bill Lustig returned to his forte of the killer-on-the-loose study, but this time focusing on someone who would, at a glance, be trusted by his potential victims. Nice idea and one that is pulled off well enough thanks to some fitting performances by the likes of Tom Atkins (made for police detective roles; see, for example, Night of the Creeps) as McCrae, Bruce Campbell as The Wrong Man blamed for the spate of violent crimes in the city, and Richard Roundtree as the perpetually angry commissioner. Sam Raimi even turns up in a cameo appearance as a reporter. Initially the viewer thinks this may be comfortably erring towards moral expectation, with the killer cop knocking off villains and other people who deserve death, but it comes as a surprise when he actually brutalises innocent people. His own history is explained at a certain point in the film and this retrospective passage itself provides the story with its most horrific moment, though the nature of occurrences removes any positive moral standing that could have been taken with the film itself (though there are the questionable morals of a couple of characters to take into consideration). Of course, a positive moral standing is not an obligation for any film. Rounding out the final act is a pretty exciting car/lorry chase that edges this movie into the uncommon action-horror genre, providing a reasonably satisfying way (without sophisticated expectations) to spend eighty minutes courtesy of exploitation specialists, Bill Lustig and Larry Cohen (Q The Winged Serpent).
The Arrow Blu-ray Disc, now uncut in the UK following censorship to early VHS releases, features a stellar full HD image at 24fps and 1.85:1 ratio (though the opening credits appear to be 1.78:1); grainy during nocturnal and some indoor shots, but really dazzling during diurnal shots, especially impressive for aerial photography. Audio (LPCM stereo) is limited by its eighties source and was never going to amaze. There are also three featurettes (edited as usual with a pointless excess of footage from the film itself as well as overlong title sequences), some trailers, and a lovely package consisting of the traditional slipcase holding a Blu-ray case with four cover options, plus inside there's a poster, Arrow catalogue, and booklet for the film (which contains an interesting interview). Overall, a fine package from Arrow.
Technically a slasher film I suppose, this isn't up there with the nasty Maniac but, script and narrative anomalies aside, Maniac Cop has a moderate amount of entertainment value, and Blu-ray is really the way to go. Maniac Cop 2 would be a good addition to Arrow's roster, but I suppose that depends how this one has sold.
Paul (The Grim Cellar at Blogspot)
on 22 July 2011
New York City, a man dressed as a police officer is killing innocent civilians. Jack Forrest is a cop who is framed for the murders, but the real killer is Matt Cordell, a cop who was sent to prison for brutality and was killed by the other inmates. Forrest, his piece on the side called Theresa, along with Detective Frank McCrea try to solve the case before the maniac cop kills again.
The acting is really good for a cheap '80s horror, Jack Forrest is played by B movie legend Bruce Campbell. Campbell is one of the few actors that can make even the worst of films watchable, and makes any good film like this even better. After the Evil Dead movies and possibly Bubba Ho Tep, this is Campbell's best work. Genre legend Tom Atkins is perfectly cast as McCrea, Atkins starred in some of my very favourite '80s movies including The Fog, Escape From New York, Creepshow, Night Of The Creeps and obviously this. He was also the main star of the very underrated Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch, a film that would probably be quite well liked if they had left Halloween out of the title. Richard Roundtree who is better known as Shaft is good in a small role as Commissioner Pike, Laurene Landon, William Smith and Sheree North give good support. Robert Z'Dar who looks like a real life Quagmire from Family Guy, is a huge man and is very effective as the supernatural Matt Cordell.
William Lustig, the director of the classics Maniac and Vigilante, directed this film and its two sequels. Part 2 is also very good, part 3 had a lot of voodoo nonsense but was still a lot of fun. Larry Cohen wrote Maniac Cop, he's also well known in the horror genre having wrote and directed a whole host of well known movies. There's several very small cameos to look out for, Sam Raimi, William Lustig and boxer Jake LaMotta all appear. The bodycount is quite high, I believe it's nineteen. There's some blood and gore but not much. It's only a short film at around ninety minutes, so it keeps up a relentless pace and never comes close to being boring. It was made on a pretty small budget of $1,100,000, I assume most of the cast and crew took a pay cut to get it made. The music score is fantastic, it really helps to build tension.
I'd been looking forward to this Blu-ray release from Arrow for a while, and I'm delighted to have finally got my hands on it. The DVD I had from Synergy was terrible, the picture quality was poor and it had no extras despite claiming to have a commentary on the back of the box. The picture quality on this Blu-ray is very good, there's sadly far more speckles and scratches than there should be on a Blu-ray, but the detail is excellent and the colours are nice and vibrant. Is this a phenomenal transfer? No, and I never expected it to be. Is it a huge upgrade on the DVD I had? Most definitely, and as far as I'm concerned, that's good enough. There's several extras to go along with the very nice transfer, reversible sleeve, double-sided poster, collector's booklet, a twenty minute interview with Tom Atkins, a fourteen minute interview with Laurene Landon, a nineteen minute interview with Larry Cohen, two trailers and TV spots.
Maniac Cop is a really good slasher film, but not a brilliant one. The Blu-ray isn't quite as good as it perhaps could have been, but it still manages to breathe new life into the film. The extras are pretty good, and there's English subtitles for the hard of hearing. This Blu-ray isn't perfect, but if you're a fan of the film, it's well worth getting. Maniac Cop 2 and 3 are soon being released on Blu-ray from Blue Underground, they will be region free and have quite a few extras.
on 25 May 2011
Maniac Cop has some great and thrilling moments along with some cheesy and over the top death scenes and the film has a pretty good b-movie cast which includes Bruce Campbell, as a wrongfully accused cop named Jack Forrest framed for the murder of his wife, and you might also recognise the other actors like Richard Roundtree from Shaft who plays the police commissioner along with Tom Atkins from The Fog as the detective who's trying to solve the case, and Robert Z'dar as the maniac cop Matt Cordell who kills innocent people on the streets of New York and check out the small cameo by Sam Raimi as a T.V. reporter!. The film was about Matt Cordell an innocent cop who pissed off the wrong people, tired of media criticism of police brutality the police commissioner ensures that Matt is tried and convicted for the supposed beatings of some criminals. Once Matt is in prison he is beat up and killed by the very people he put away but he soon comes back to life seeking vengeance and he's also killing alot of innocent people along the way while the police themselves are looking for the wrong person when officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is set up and framed for the murder of his wife, the closer the investigation gets to stopping Matt, Jack gets accused of being the Maniac Cop himself and people on the streets start panicking not trusting any cops in uniforms.
I used to enjoy this film alot and it was one of my favorites, the film was more recently re-released on DVD by Synapse and has plenty of extras which includes some deleted scenes and an interview with Robert Z'dar, this new synapse release has a good widescreen transfer which was alot better than the previous Elite Entertainment release which I use to have. The film was written by Larry Cohen and was directed by William Lustig who previously made Maniac, unlike that film Maniac cop was less serious than Maniac and you can tell that he just wanted to make a fun b-movie with less gore and violence so the film wasn't really gory whilst Maniac was about a deranged serial killer and was quite dark and disturbing with a gloomy atmosphere. In in this film you get a laughable death scene where a guy gets drowned in concrete by the maniac cop so don't take it to seriously. The film was shot in N.Y. and William Lustig gets to benefit from the great locations and it does have some great atmosphere, I have to give credit to the director for turning this into an exciting horror/thriller film there was never a dull moment, I especially liked the car chase scene with Bruce Campbell handcuffed at the back of the police van and this was definitely one of his best roles so if your a Bruce fan then you should check it out. Overall this is definitely a well made film with some good acting and a great storyline but it doesn't have any suspense, some scenes were a bit tense while others were just a bit ridiculous but it's still worth watching just don't expect anything earth shattering, the sequels were great too.
on 6 April 2009
I saw this straight to video,as the term was known then,when i was a kid.
The storyline,no matter how corny it looks on paper,is for horror standards original enough to engage you're imagination.The sight of figure of authority going around slaughtering people like a Charles Bronson in reverse (he kills the good,not the bad) is intriguing.
I would recommend this if you're a Bruce Campbell fan,or of low budget horror.However one reason i am marking it down is for the silly continuity errors.A dead cop ,after being stabbed by The Maniac Cop,miraculously manages to roll out of the way of Laurie Landon's character as she throws a chair out of the window!???
It's funny too watch but makes the film lapse into self-parody.
on 1 May 2010
This was the first of three movies starring Robert Z'Dar in the title role. As a cop he was the best, but being the best has its' high costs & consequences! Imprisoned by the system he swore to protect, brutally attacked, scarred for life & left for dead, he has returned to take revenge on all those involved in his incarceration & anyone else who gets in his. An unstoppable force who is Judge, Jury & Excutioner! Stay out of his way. This is the fullframe version of the film & incorporates those extra scenes that were used for broadcast on Japanese television & were present as an extra on the Special Edition dvd. Unfortunately, this review loses a star just for being fullframe! Enjoy!
on 9 August 2012
Arrow does it again! The day I decided to start collecting their limited edition blu-rays was a monumental day for me; Arrow has managed to open my eyes to a whole class of films with which I was wholly unfamiliar until I stumbled across this release at a local book/movie/music store (in Lexington, Kentucky, no less! Amazing where treasures can end up.)
Let me preface this by saying that Maniac Cop is clearly not an award-winning film, but damned if it isn't entertaining! This slick UK version is the definitive edition, as it comes with over-the-top packaging and extras. Featuring an ultra-cool slipbox with a clear pastic window on the front, and reversible artwork so you can pick one of four covers (or rotate them like I do to keep it fresh)! Also includes a fold out, double-sided poster and a plethora of bonus content: trailers, TV spots, several fantastic interviews (including a dynamite one with Tom Atkins), and a booklet with all new essays on the film. There's also a great little into to the film by Tom Atkins, which I found to be a nice surprise. The blu-ray comes housed in a quality, heavy-duty amaray case that just seems fitting for such a release. Try finding all of these amazing extras anywhere else!
The picture quality knocks this release out of the park. 1080p, original aspect ratio, no excess sharpening, and the film's original grain and gritty look are still present. This is exactly the way I want to watch a movie like this. Although the audio quality is presented in a 2.0 LPCM. The U.S. version has a DTS-HD audio track, but I think Arrow did a heck of a job with the audio in this release. I found no issues with balance, fade, and the score is blended expertly. I cannot being to count the number of releases where I am constantly having to adjust the volume (up during conversation scenes, down during action scenes). This, happily, is NOT one of those releases. The audio knob stayed in one spot through the entire viewing (which took place late at night with minimal lighting - how I'd personally recommend it). All in all I was extremely pleased with the PQ/AQ on this release. The bonus features put it over the moon.
One final note about this release is that it is Region A, B, C compatible, including the 1080p bonus features - meaning that fellow U.S. viewers won't need a region-free player to play this release (although I would definitely recommend looking into getting one, as it is worth it just to have access to Arrow's entire catalog - made my decision easy!) This is definitely the version to get! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! And check out the rest of Arrow's great catalog.
For me this is why I love Blu-ray, we all know that blu-ray can not be the best at night scenes, even todays films some are not the best, but this film was beautiful, if not one of the best I have ever seen, with a wonderful, if not perfect crystal clear picture, with most of the film being shot at night.
The film is just brilliant, if not the first of it's kind with some great deaths. The Steelbook is very nice which adds to the quality of this film, this is a great release from Arrow, hopefully more to come.