Berry’s review published on Letterboxd:
2018 Cult Movie Challenge - Week 19
80s Horror Week.
Every bit as grim and stark as New York in the 80s can be portrayed, Maniac Cop creates a form of horror that would come unexpected to some audiences. What could be potentially more intimidating and destructive than common street toughs? The answer is given in its earliest moment, and the most effective, as a woman flees from being mugged into the arms of the titular officer, who in turn destroys her neck, killing her. From there, it becomes a further dip into the seedy reality that was New York’s Worst era of crime, but being subverted as the symbol of justice and protection reveals its true and antiquated colors.
The resulting film ends up being more procedural than anticipated, which slows down a promising rush of intensity, but the politics shine strong as the more interesting aspect with how it directly holds a villainous edge on the most crooked and violent of the force. The street interview segment where citizens speak of their mistrust for the police is executed at the right time in the grand scheme, showing how tough the department needs to work in regaining their already-lost trust. It’s not regained as its up to one lone officer Bruce Campbell to solve in attempts to clear his name. Larry Cohen’s Midas touch of the B-movie remains, but it doesn’t linger especially enough to be as hard-hitting as it ends up. More than worth a watch though, for that classic grungy NYC aesthetic.