Posts tagged “Maniac

VIDEO: Jan Broberg’s Guide To Thespians, Sociopaths & Scream Queens!

Maniac mondo

In a short video I feel is worth mentioning, Director/Actor Michael Lee Stever (SATURDAY NIGHTMARES: THE ULTIMATE HORROR EXPO OF ALL TIME!, RESURRECTING CARRIE) is at it again making short mini-docs on some smaller names in film and garnering some unique footage and angles to some horror-themed topics of interest. Granted, as of this post, I still have not seen the MANIAC (2012) remake starring Elijah Wood, Nora Amezeder, and Jan Broberg but am more intrigued to (more…)


manson family

For fans of the macabre, the gory, and the sleazy–a new midnight film series showcasing some of the most notoriously sleazy, bloody, vile, gory pieces of trashy grindhouse cinema never meant for mass consumption a monthly film series event is coming to the Logan Theatre at midnight. After all, the people that attend these (more…)



Sad to say, being a huge fan of horror films, and just films in general, I was filled with shame when I heard that Synapse Films was releasing a new high-def transfer of director William Lustig’s (MANIAC, VIGILANTE) ‘80s cult classic MANIAC COP,  a horror film about a cop going on a maniacal rampage through New York City killing innocent civilians with no rhyme or reason for doing so. With a story written and produced by Larry Cohen (director of THE STUFF and IT’S ALIVE), I have to wonder why a film whose title and cover artwork I was SO familiar with took so long for me to finally view. On a positive note, I got to see the finest print of the film in glorious high-def on Blu-ray, along with plenty of extra features and a newly remixed DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound.


A film with a tagline such as, “You have the right to remain silent…forever!”, is right up my alley. The film just screams out: Glorious cheesy ‘80s fair with plenty of memorable one-liners in the dialogue! Not to mention, lets take a look at the cast members within the film. Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD trilogy) plays a young, New York cop, Jack Forrest, who is cheating on his wife with a fellow cop. Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN III:SEASON OF THE WITCH, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) portrays Lt. Frank McCrae (when the hell is Atkins NOT portraying an awesome cop in a nominally to low-budgeted film generally in the genre of horror), whom has made it his personal crusade to get down to the bottom of these senseless slaughters before more innocent citizens and fellow brothers-in-blue get shot or killed from paranoid and scared New Yorkers whom have been told by the press better watch out if they see a uniformed officer for it may be the maniac cop in disguise looking for another victim.

Robert Z'Dar never looked so menacing!

The most redeeming qualities surrounding this film are the performances by Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins. Both played their parts to a tee, neither over-acting or laying on the cheese thicker than warranted, making the viewing of a pretty simple and standard slasher film (I consider it a slasher film since the victims are randomly being slashed and diced up) even though as the film progresses viewers get a bit more of a storyline and a semi-plausible reason for why the maniac cop is going around killing anyone that crosses his path. I have to say that I really enjoy watching Atkins in anything he is in, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS being my favorite so far. The man just always looks and plays a perfect cop. He is one of those guys that just have a “cop look”. No matter what other movie I see him in, I will always think of him as a cop.
As for Bruce Campbell, his performance in MANIAC COP is a handful of years after he made his name in with horror fans with THE EVIL DEAD in ’81 and its “sequel” in ’87, nestled right before Campbell went on to make INTRUDER the following year. Interestingly enough, the film has that New York look and feel, even though I swear that I can see some palm trees off in the distance on some shots. The movie was filmed in sunny Los Angeles, CA, only, of which 3 days were filmed in New York City, NY.


The film’s plot revolves around an Officer Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) a cop who is known for pushing the limits of police brutality to its max when taking down offenders. He is considered a “super-cop” of sorts and is responsible for making a multitude of busts, locking up plenty of bad guys, but one day he goes too far roughing up a scumbag and the powers that be lock him up for doing after he is put on trial. While in prison, as one can imagine, his life is in danger being locked up with all the bad guys Cordell locked up when on the streets and he is brutally murdered while taking a shower one day in prison, or so viewers think! The shower fight scene is pretty good because Z’Dar is a pretty big dude and he probably would do well portraying a convict in films in his 100+ movies that he has been in over the course of his career. The Chicago-born actor may not be the prettiest looking guy, but he sure was fit to play a mean son-of-a-bitch back in his day!


After Lt. McCrae finds out that the maniac cop is a member of the NYC police force, he has a better grip on how to find him, his motives, and take him out. Taking this bastard out is easier said than done, though. I mean, the guy gets shot at point-blank range a multitude of times and shows no slowing down. Think of Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees wearing a badge. As the cop and the stiletto-fashioned nightstick he uses to dispatch his victims slaughter more and more cops, as well as innocent folks- I am enjoying the film more and more. My only concern is that I felt that Lustig could have thrown in quite a bit more gore. Granted, the shower scene in which Z’Dar gets sliced up real bad, mostly on his face, looked awesome. The camera did not cut away from most of the stabs and slicing, making for a pretty gruesomely shot slasher scene. I can always enjoy more gore and blood in a film that is primarily built upon gore and blood. It is a slasher film about a maniac cop. I expect there to be an onslaught of violence and wanton bloodshed-anything less than that would be utter disappointment. There is just enough to satiate my appetite and meet the criteria I invoke upon myself when watching a violent horror film whose subject matter is a crazy cop killing innocents in a vengeful murder spree.


Frankly, I was hoping that Lustig would incorporate a gory head explosion like in MANIAC when Tom Savini got his head blown off. Aside from SCANNERS and DAWN OF THE DEAD, the head explosion executed by shotgun in MANIAC by Joe Spinell is one of the most memorable brain blasts that I have ever seen in a film. I always love a good cranial destructor scene!


Aside from Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Z’Dar (regulars in horror films), look out for some other well-known actors and faces in the film in some cameos and brief appearances. Sam Raimi, whom also filmed the St. Patrick’s Day parade scene before production began to show investors to secure some of the money to complete the film also has a cameo as a reporter. Jake LaMotta (famous boxer of which Scorsese’s RAGING BULL is based upon his life) has a cameo as a detective, as well as director William Lustig as a motel manager (one of the earlier scenes in the film), and Richard Roundtree (SHAFT) as Commissioner Pike. The coroner (Barry Brenner) was Lustig’s real-life doctor (his performance stunk and was noticeably awful!) and Jill Gatsby is Larry Cohen’s daughter and is killed in every one of his movies that she is in (how very morbid!).


In the end, I am happy to have finally viewed a cult classic that horror fans far and close revere as a must-see and classic slasher film, one of which has quite a few heavy hitters in the film industry in relation to the horror genre, of which I enjoyed. The funny one-liners, semi-witty and, at times, absurd lines of dialogue delivered by Atkins and Campbell make the film an enjoyable romp through the eighties where films merged comedy and violence (sometimes unintentionally) as if they were two peas in a pod.


I enjoyed MANIAC COP. I see where the film gets its cult appeal and I enjoyed the performances by Atkins and Campbell most, giving the movie’s body count of 19 and lack of more gore and violence a pass in my critique of the film. I am relieved to have finally seen this film, on Blu-ray no less, and with an abundance of extra features. The extras features on the Blu-ray include an interview with Robert Z’Dar, Tom Atkins, and a three-minute featurette with Danny Hicks. Also included is a motion still gallery, additional scenes filmed for the Japanese television version (add much more backstory and plot to the film involving the mayor), and trailers and tv spots (the Spanish tv spot is hilarious…well, because I don’t know Spanish and my Hispanic girlfriend was cracking up during it!)


Synapse Films are putting out a plethora of great ‘80s horror films restored on Blu-ray and dvd, of which many have either had shoddy releases on home video or just have been generally neglected. Don May, Jr., owner and operator of Synapse, is doing horror fans an incredible service and has been selecting some incredible choices to add to the Synapse Film catalog. SHU-IZMZ really looks forward to each and every release coming out!