MANIAC COP (1988)
Directed by: William Lustig
Produced by: Larry Cohen
Written by: Larry Cohen
Starring: Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Robert Z’Dar,
William Smith, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree
Released: May 13, 1988
A deranged killer is on the loose in New York City, brutally slicing and dicing innocent victims without provocation. The detective heading the investigation (Atkins) believes that the crazed killer is a cop; based on eyewitness testimony. The investigation leads to a young cop (Campbell) who is suspected of being the murderer when his wife is killed by the “Maniac Cop” after she discovered her husband having sex with a co-worker in a motel. After being arrested and incarcerated, the cop, along with his girlfriend and the detective, believes that this is a frame job and that the real killer cop is still loose on the streets.
Atkins and Campbell are the best parts of this movie. But that’s not saying much. The film brings nothing new to the table in a sub-genre that had been flooding theatres and VCRs with slasher flicks for a decade. The acting is a little bit wooden, even with Atkins, Campbell, and Richard Roundtree at the helm. The killer is a normal man with an above average physique but is portrayed as almost super human — which detracts from the movie.
Despite having two horror movie mainstays in Tom Atkins (The Fog, Night of the Creeps), and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) in the lead roles and penned by veteran horror auteur Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Stuff) the movie didn’t fare so well at the box office, making a little more than half of it’s $1 million budget. Maniac Cop did find some legs on home video where it has become a cult favourite and has been followed by two sequels.