Maniac Cop

Maniac Cop ★★★½

“Gina this isn't about romance. It's about murder.”

That's right, Gina. Get it through that head of yours that director William Lustig and writer/producer Larry Cohen didn't make no picture starring Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Robert Z'Dar, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, Sheree North, William Smith and featuring George Buck Flower to make pretty talk and smoochies. It's about a serial killer stalking the streets of New York who the tabloids are calling “MANIAC COP”, threatening to cancel the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Det. Frank McCrae (Atkins) makes one of the greatest intuitive leaps of logic and correctly surmises the killer is not only dressed like a police officer, he IS a police officer or at least was. This saves at least 30 minutes of film time of cops trying to figure out who the hell is doing all the killing and gets right to the meat: who's next and is someone helping him?

In comes brash, working class beat cop Ash, I mean Bruce Campbell, who's set up to take the heat after he's discovered he's having an affair with fellow cop Laurene Landon and after his troubled wife is found murdered by the Maniac Cop. This doesn't add up: the suspect is said to be much taller, has a weird face, is literally cold to the touch and doesn't seem to breathe. So McCrae digs deeper...

...anyway Maniac Cop is a lively watch and shot well. The cast is full of familiar faces of the cult movie (what? No Joe Spinell?) circuit. I love the location filming of NYC in the late 1980s and what looks like actual footage of actual cops imbibing (and being reprimanded by their superiors) actual Bud bombers during the parade. I cannot wait to see this on the big screen with an audience. The grimace on Tom Atkins' face after being told “you never smile” is worth the price of a ticket alone.

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