Dan Abel’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs - Season 3 - Episode 6 - Film 1
*Original review from 11/23/19 edited and resubmitted 5/21/21 with no major additions*
Maniac Cop and it's sequels are movies that I always used to see on the shelves in the small mom and pop video stores of the early 1990s. I always wanted the check them out but never had the chance because my immediate family weren't horror fans and I didn't have money of my own at 6 or 7 years old. Now is my chance to take the dive.
The film starts with a catchy little theme consisting of whistles. Simple but effective. There's a huge maniac dressed as a cop and he's on the loose in NYC killing innocent civilians. Within the first 15 minutes we have a respectable body count. Detective Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) is tasked with catching the killer. He believes it's a cop on the force. Eventually the right circumstances come together and Officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is falsely arrested for the killings. It's up to Frank to clear Jack's name and catch the killer before his next spree begins. The Immortal Tom Atkins and the great Bruce Campbell are together in a film. How can it not rule?
Once you get to the backstory it becomes really interesting. The plot does a great job at hiding the killers identity until the halfway point, and even then you don't see his face until the end. Well done. Unfortunately it leads to probably the most disappointing thing about the movie. His face. Either that or Robert Z'Dar's acting. Probably both. Regardless of that the plot was interesting, the soundtrack was good, and Bruce Campbell kicks ass as usual. The body count is high enough and the gore is fine. I'm looking forward to watching the sequel. I hope it explains a bit more about some of this killer's abilities.
Written by Larry Cohen says a lot. The man did a lot of work in the industry, most of which was awful, but he created an avenue for B movies to shine. In this case he wrote and produced and he did a damn good job at both. If you like quirky slasher B-Movies with a cult following, this is for you. It doesn't do anything special, nor does it break the mold but for what it is it's solid enough. Check it out.