Maniac Cop (1988)

You have the right to remain silent. Forever.
Posted on by

Maniac Cop - You have the right to remain silent. Forever.

Back in the late eighties when New York cops had facial hair that would make Tom Selleck feel inadequate and 93% of crime was committed by Puerto Rican's in headbands, William Lustig (Director) and Larry Cohen (Writer and producer) got together to show society that not all police in America greet citizens with a "toodle pip" before rescuing a cat from a tree. Together they set out to demonstrate that sometimes those that are supposed to safeguard society sometimes prefer to "sever and protect" in a fairly motiveless, or at least misguidedly motivated, way. Stolen Simpsons jokes aside, Maniac Cop is a slasher that takes an amusing and nonsensical plot and attempts to serve it up in the most serious of manners... as seriously as anything can attempt to be when containing the face of Bruce Campbell and the moustache of Tom Atkins.

This movie doesn't try to be anything that it isn't, it positively relishes it's B-Movie potential and lives up to it in hindsight. Lustig tries to embrace the grittiness of New York in that era but the thick accents and the abundance of lip hair make it far removed from the grime achieved in any of his previous movies with the word maniac in the title. The input from Cohen is very apparent as our maniac cop comes across as an abomination of nature rather than a standard serial killer.

The plot can be a bit dubious at times leaving it unclear as to whether the antagonist is fuelled by some supernatural back-from-the-dead power source. The indication is that it is simply brain damage that makes him impervious to bullets to the skull although there is talk of him being dead, but if you wanted realism then documentaries are a better source of entertainment. This vagueness does not take away the entertainment provided by Maniac Cop but it does make it one of those films that is easily forgotten when tasked with explaining what happened to anyone interested in knowing.

Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar also known as "The Chin") is New York's supercop responsible for putting numerous crime bosses and gangsters behind bars and cleaning up the streets. This doesn't sit well with a number of high ranking police officers and officials so to regain their control and limelight, charges are trumped up and Cordell is incarcerated in Sing Sing for "violation of people's rights". Sing Sing is a dangerous place for someone responsible for a lot of the residency of those there and Cordell is soon the victim of shower based revenge (as is popular in American prisons), has his faced carved up and is left for dead.

10 years later a uniformed brick shit house is reported as responsible for numerous random killings on the streets of New York. Panic erupts in the police department and everyone in uniform is a suspect. The panic soon spreads through the general populous and a quick and dirty fix is required to quell the hysteria. Due to an number of unlucky occurrences and complications arising from a love triangle, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell also also known as "The Chin") becomes the number one suspect slash scapegoat.

Determined to prove his innocence, and with a little help from his friends, Jack discovers that Cordell may not be as dead as reported and unravels a vengeance plot devised by the disfigured and brain dead cop to exact retribution on the ones responsible for his imprisonment.

Maniac Cop is quite action packed for a slasher and relies more on guns and explosions than than slow death, torment and suspense. Cordell's victims meet brutal demises but the slash far outweighs the stalk with numerous victims getting nowhere near the expected 15 minutes of fame allocated by popular sayings. Viewers are even treated to a car chase which is also a valuable lesson in physics proving that cars go much faster when the back end is allowed to travel twice as far as the front in the eighties.

There is so much to love about Maniac Cop despite it being in the genre of 80s trash horror. Lustig and Cohen's styles meld together brilliantly, Campbell and Atkins never fail to entertain but most importantly there is not a hint of pretentiousness. The film knows exactly what it is and doesn't try to be anything more. It is apparent that the movie was fun to make and this fun gets passed on to those who watch.
This review was posted on by
Categories: Slasher Movies
Watch "Maniac Cop" now Watch Maniac Cop Now on Amazon Instant Video

Maniac Cop: Movie Information

Maniac Cop: Related Images

Maniac Cop: External Links