Maniac Cop is a wonderful slice of 80’s horror that puts the people of New York City in a bit of a quandary. Who can you trust if you can’t trust the police?
Starring the always spectacular Tom Atkins alongside Bruce Campbell & Laurene Landon, Maniac Cop has garnered a cult reputation over the years. Deservedly so, it’s very entertaining.
The movie opens with a waitress being attacked by two men on her way home. She manages to escape their clutches & runs into the arms of a police officer who promptly kills her. It’s a great start with the police mans face being purposely hidden so his identity later in the movie can be something of a surprise.
As the maniac cop continues to kill night after night & seemingly at random, Lieutenant McCrae (Atkins) is tasked with bringing the killer to justice. In his efforts to keep people safe he leaks the information that the killer is a police officer to the press. This causes mass panic & paranoia to run rampant throughout the city.
Meanwhile Jack (Campbell), a serving police officer is caught by his wife in bed with one of his colleagues, Theresa (Landon). His wife runs away distraught & is killed by the maniac putting Jack under suspicion for her murder.
One night while working undercover as a prostitute, Theresa is attacked by the killer but with the help of McCrae manages to fight him off. It’s during this battle that they make an alarming discovery about the maniac cop after shooting him several times, he doesn’t die.
It’s up to McCrae & Theresa to find out the killer’s identity so they can free Jack.
What follows is a tongue in cheek horror romp, one with plenty of violence & gore. It’s well acted, well shot & tells an interesting story even if it is a bit too long. It’s certainly showing it’s age but for fans of 80’s horror it fits the style perfectly (even though it does have a bit of the 90’s shine about it).
The big reveal isn’t particularly shocking or anything, it’s just smartly revealed over the run time. It’s the kind of payoff that ups the interest for what comes next.
The movie does have lulls & requires some serious detaching of the brain. Jack doesn’t initially reveal his alibi for the time of his wife’s murder because he wants to protect Theresa. Seriously, you’re under suspicion for murder, dude. It’s probably time to own up about having that affair especially as it will get you off the hook!
The maniac cop is a little too indestructible near the end of the movie & it even ends with some clear sequel bait (of which there are two of much lower quality).
Still these faults are minor issues in a film that still puts many modern day ‘horrors’ to shame. Well worth a watch if you’ve not seen it yet.