Maniac Cop comes to Blu-ray

Monday, 31 October 2011 05:30

A menacing killer is on the loose in New York, and the twist this time is that the perpetrator appears to be a cop. A dead cop! After a string of brutal murders, people are running scared in the city and every cop is distrusted. Police Captain Ripley (William Smith) suspects Officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell), and although the evidence is building to corroborate his theory, Jack is doing everything in his power to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, Detective Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins – “The Fog”, “Escape from New York”, “Halloween 3”) is not so sure. He comes up with a bizarre theory that a long-deceased cop called Cordell is involved, though convincing his superiors of that might prove to be a little tricky. As the death toll rockets, can McCrae and Jack’s colleague Mallory (Lauren Landon – “Hundra”) solve the case before the killer sets his sights on the Commissioner (Richard Roundtree – “Shaft”)?

Maniac Cop on Blu-rayIf you are looking for an entertaining night in with some mates and a crate of beer, “Maniac Cop” fits the bill quite well. There are plenty of death scenes, some exciting action sequences and the cast are solid enough. Star of the show is the quirkily-named Robert Z’Dar, aka Cordell. He spends most of the film in the shadows and yet – with director William Lustig’s assistance - manages to convey an intimidating presence worthy of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.

When he finally steps out of the darkness, Cordell obviously still possesses plenty of bulk, but nature has gifted Z’Dar with an enormous comedy chin (which I initially thought was a Bo Selecta-style prosthetic!) and as the role does not require him to speak, all he can do is stare like a loon at his next victim. Fear turns to hysterical laughter which, depending on the audience’s frame of mind and level of alcohol consumption may not necessarily be a bad thing. Seeing as Campbell is playing it totally straight for once, the humour has to come from somewhere.

It is a shame that the feature does not do more with its interesting premise, and the blend of slasher-horror and police thriller. Distrust of the police in the community is quickly passed over when it could have been used to much more dramatic effect. Too many of the deaths are expected and lacking in tension, though on the plus side you are never sure who will make it to the end, and the identity of the killer is kept a secret for a relatively long time. It is a solid effort but certainly not as good as other key efforts featuring Tom Atkins or Bruce Campbell.

Special features included with this release are:

  • Brand new High Definition transfer of film film
  • Exclusive UK introduction to the film from star Tom Atkins
  • Doomed Detective: Tom Atkins on “Maniac Cop”
  • Lady of the Night: Laurene Landon remembers “Maniac Cop”
  • Scripting a new Slasher Super-Villain: Larry Cohen on Matt Corell
  • Trailer

The Tom Atkins interview is easily the best component here. He is breezy, droll and very likable, and evidently very appreciative of the recognition he still gets for his aging horror films. To this day he is still getting work off the back of them, as seen in “My Bloody Valentine 3D” and “Drive Angry”.

The Blu-ray HD transfer is impressively crisp – a huge improvement over previous DVD versions. My only slight complaint is that a flashback scene quite late on features some unexplainable flickering, possibly because of the print used or the remastering process; either way it is a little distracting and may cause epilepsy suffers a few problems.

“Maniac Cop” (1988) is out now, courtesy of Arrow Video. The running time is 90 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’, and the movie retails for £27.99 on Blu-ray, or less from


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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