Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Maniac Cop (1988, William Lustig)
Maniac Cop is hard to classify. Is it a horror film, like most would expect? Well, I guess. It's also an action film. I really don't know. I guess more than anything, it's a cult film. One of those films that fits many categories and takes some time to find it's audience. Maniac Cop has been on my movie watching back burner for quite awhile and finally made it's way onto my laptop screen thanks to a free trial of Netflix. The main reasons I wanted to see this film is because of those involved with making the film. I am a big fan of Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell, as well as William Lustig, who helmed the similarly titled (though vastly different in almost every other way) masterpiece Maniac. Plus the film was written by Larry Cohen, who himself is enough of a reason for me to watch a film.
Maniac Cop takes place in NYC where someone in a police uniform starts randomly killing off innocent people. At first the cops believe it is someone impersonating a police officer. Until the wife of policeman Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is found dead in a hotel room that he booked, making Jack the number one suspect. Lt. Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) investigates and finds out Jack is innocent and the killer is another cop who was framed and supposedly dead. It is up to McCrae and Forrest to get the cops to believe them before the Maniac Cop strikes again.
Maniac Cop is a fun movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. Like I mentioned before, it fits into a few different genres and does a good job mixing them. The stunt work is top notch, especially for a low budget horror film, which makes it stand out from the crowd. The cast is really why I liked this movie though. Atkins and Campbell have great chemistry and it is a joy seeing them together in this film. The other cast is fun too - Richard (Shaft) Roundtree, William Smith, Laurene Landon and even a cameo from Sam Raimi. Overall, one thing I can say is that this film was pretty simple and straightforward, which actually works here really well. They didn't try to bog down the story with too many sub plots or unnecessary characters.