Directed by William Lustig
Written by Larry Cohen
Music by Jay Chattaway
Cast: Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Robert Z’Dar, and Sheree North
1987/87 mins/Color/DTS 6.1
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Synapse Films DVD
An insane cop, Officer Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) is killing innocent people in New York City. A young cop, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is framed for the brutal, slicing murder of his wife. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) investigates the murders, and they all try to stop the killer. But Cordell is an unstoppable, deadly psycho.
A minor classic of sorts, MANIAC COP would go on to inspire two sequels and make a cult anti-hero out of Cordell. MANIAC director Lustig attempts a different kind of slasher, here. Written and produced by Larry (IT’S ALIVE trilogy, PHONE BOOTH) Cohen, this a is mix of 80s action and a body count film. It definitely manages to set itself apart from others in the then overflowing slasher subgenre.
Atkins is amazing, like he always is, as is Campbell and the rest of the supporting cast. Landon, though, is not very good in her role. That said, she is pretty and her 80s hairdo is certainly, well memorable.
The pacing is a tad bit slow, at first, but it works, as the story and plot unravels, and the film builds up. It may not be any where as gory as Lusitg’s MANIAC, but the movie does have some very rousing and exciting action scenes, throughout. The flashback sequence, where Cordell’s origin is revealed is a great fight scene, and the climax just kicks fucking ass.
Synapse arrests us with this fine release of MANIAC COP on DVD. The 1.85:1 widescreen presentation is a brand new transfer and is mostly, quite good. While, there is some artifacting, including some pops and specks on screen (most visible in the flashbacks), for the most part there are some really nice, strong colors. But it is in the sound is where this transfer really shines, though. With a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 6.1 soundtrack, the movie has a nice, aggressive soundtrack. The action scenes and the great, pounding score by Chattaway keeps things pounding and driving.
“Memories of the Maniac Cop” is an interview with Robert Z’Dar that is very interesting and filled with great anecdotes and memories by the actor. It is the only new extra feature as the rest are imported from the old Elite laserdisc. They include: two theatrical trailers, a French trailer, two TV spots, a Spanish radio spot, and additional footage shot for Japanese TV. Said footage is basically scenes with a mayor character that is not in the theatrical version at all. Also, included is the very lively and entertaining running commentary featuring director Lusitg, writer/ producer Cohen, Campbell, and composer Chattaway. As with any commentary that has Campbell in it, this one is definitely worth listening to, well at least if you ain’t heard it, anyways .
The disc comes in a keepcase with a truly awesome looking cover that has some beautiful, original artwork. It does not have an inlet card, just and ad for other Synapse releases. The movie is broken up into 18 chapters accessible from the very cool, active menu screen. Now, if only someone could release the amazing MANIAC COP 2, the best in the series…
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©
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