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"You always take a leak with a gun in your hand? That's a good way to blow your balls off!"
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.