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Innocent people are being brutally murdered on the streets of New York City by a uniformed police officer. As the death toll rises and City Hall attempts a cover-up, Frank McCrae heads the investigation. A young cop, Jack Forrest, finds himself under arrest as the chief suspect, having been the victim of a set-up by the real killer and a mysterious woman phone-caller. Forrest, his girlfriend Theresa, and McCrae set out to solve the puzzle before the Maniac Cop can strike again. Written by
Maniac Cop has a very simple plot, in New York a man dressed as a police officer is killing innocent civilians. Jack Forrest is a cop and gets framed, the real killer is Matt Cordell, a cop who was sent to prison for brutality and ended up getting killed inside. Forrest, his piece on the side Theresa and detective Frank McCrea try to solve the case, before the maniac cop kills again.
The acting is really good for a cheap 80's horror, Jack Forrest is played by the legend that is Bruce Campbell. Campbell is one of the few actors that can make even the worst of films watchable, and makes any good film like this that much better. After the Evil Dead movies and possibly Bubba Ho Tep, this is Campbell's best work. Genre legend Tom Atkins is perfectly cast as McCrea, Atkins starred in some of my very favourite 80's movies including The Fog, Escape From New York, Creepshow, Night Of The Creeps and obviously this. He was also the main star of the underrated Halloween 3 Season Of The Witch, a film that would probably be quite well liked if they had left Halloween out of the title. Richard Roundtree who is better known as Shaft is good in a small role as commissioner Pike, Laurene Landon, William Smith and Sheree North give good support. Robert Z'Dar who looks like a real life Quagmire from Family Guy, is a huge man and is very effective as the supernatural Matt Cordell.
William Lustig the director of the classic and directed this film and it's 2 sequels. Part 2 is also very good, part 3 had a lot of voodoo nonsense but was still okay. Larry Cohen wrote Maniac Cop, he's also well known in the horror genre having wrote and directed a whole host of well known movies. There's several very small cameo's to look out for, Sam Raimi, William Lustig and strangely the boxer Jake LaMotta all appear. The bodycount is quite high, I believe it's 19. There's some blood and gore but not much. It's only a short film at just under 90 minutes, so it keeps up a relentless pace and never comes close to being boring.
It was made on a pretty small budget of $1,100,000, I assume with the cast and crew involved here that many took a pay cut to get it made. The music score is fantastic, it really helps to build tension. I love Maniac Cop and wouldn't hesitate to give at least 4 stars, but the DVD picture quality isn't great and it's a bare bones disc. Arrow Video are releasing it on blu ray late October 2011, if the picture quality is a massive improvement and they throw in some extras then it could very well be a 5 star disc. Highly recommended for any fan of slightly cheesy 80's horror, but i'd wait for the Arrow release if you're thinking of buying it. I'll definitely be double dipping.
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