Sunday, October 19, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Maniac Cop

MANIAC COP (1988)
One of those movies where I like how the title tells you exactly what it’s about. Maniac Cop is the first of a trilogy; I believe the rest went straight to video though. If Dirty Harry went rotten, this might be how he turned out. (The movie’s tag line: “You have the right to remain silent...forever.”) Bodies begin to pile up when a new serial killer hits the streets of New York City. Eyewitness accounts state that the murderer was wearing a police uniform, and a motorist shoots an innocent officer in the head during the public outrage. The NYPD finds a suspect within their own department, but the real killer is an ex-cop who has obviously gone past his onetime shoot-first-ask-questions-later methods. But as far as anyone knows, that cop had been hung out to dry by the city and imprisoned, before dying at the hands of his enemies. Yet he is alive and on a murderous rampage. Maniac Cop is a movie that could have just been a routine cop flick with generic characters and dialogue, which often happens with promising movies like Colors or Fort Apache—The Bronx. But there are superior minds at work here—it’s directed by William Lustig of Maniac, and written by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, Q—The Winged Serpent, God Told Me to Kill, etc.) in one of his best efforts. Tom Atkins (Lethal Weapon, The Fog, Halloween III) is the cop investigating the serial murders, while Bruce Campbell is the police suspect trying to prove his innocence. The support cast includes Richard Roundtree, Victoria Catlin from “Twin Peaks,” Jake LaMotta, and Sam Raimi in a bit role. Unfortunately, Maniac Cop loses much of its grittiness on DVD. But my VHS tape retains the ability to properly convey the movie’s ominous nature. Some movies are just like that, so act accordingly if you’re interested in seeing this for yourself.

No comments: