Maniac Cop (1988)

Directed by: William Lustig

Written by: Larry Cohen


Tom Atkins .... Frank McCrae
Bruce Campbell .... Jack Forrest
Laurene Landon .... Theresa Mallory
Richard Roundtree .... Commissioner Pike
William Smith .... Capt. Riley
Robert Z'Dar .... Matt Cordell
Sheree North .... Sally Norland

Special Appearances:

.... Regina Sheperd
Sam Raimi .... Reporter at Parade
George Buck Flower .... Old Man (TV Sequence)

Release Dates: Limited Theatrical: May 13, 1988; Cognac Film Festival: April, 1988 (France); Cannes Film Market: May, 1988 (France)






The New York streets at night were reputed to be unsafe but they are getting more dangerous as an ex-cop who served time in jail for murder named Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar) wears his uniform and kills several innocent people.
Police chief Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) tries to unravel this case and thinks that one of his people named Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) was a suspect after his wife named Ellen (Victoria Catlin) was murdered after she discovers him cheating on her with one of his co-workers named Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) and is held for questioning.
Now, after Cordell breaks into the headquarters by killing some of the officers there Jack manages to escape with his mistress Theresa as they try to find some way on Cordell's case to prove his innocence and to try and stop him.


A perfect opening in this piece showing Matt Cordell putting on gloves a badge and other police equipment without showing his face. This moment for sure leaves a good slasher flick impression as it reminds me on openings of similar slasher flick type sequels such as Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street.
We see a nice beginning of a scene with a woman walking down the street and being mugged by thugs however some of this was supposed to be intense and it almost works but looked slightly cheesy and then she gets physically tough, then runs to Matt as his presence looked perfect standing in the dark and about to kill. Perfect moment on the thugs a distance away freaking out by seeing this officer doing her in as it worked in well to the story.
A great close up shots on Matt pulling out a knife about to kill his victim as well as him strolling towards a car and knocking on the persons car window with his gloves exposed. Things looked charmingly humpress when he uses his hand signals to have the guy driving the car to get out as it adds nice timing as well as him being killed and then his body slammed against the windshield as it packs a punch along with the girlfriend screaming and trying to speed away offering nice suspense into the story.
Impressive moment with both Frank McCrae and Regina Sheperd having a discussion in a bar as we also see a TV screen above them on people discussing the negative moments on police officers which made sense as to what they were talking about.
We see a nice close up shot on Jack Forrest putting on his police gear and acting blunt and aggressive too towards his his wife as the moments looked good and still while all of this was happening.
Nicely done scene with a maid going to a run down hotel and then entering a room spotting a gruseome dead body on the bed as this should be a mild amusement for slasher fans. Nicely put into the story.
We spot a nice 3 way conversation with Frank McCrae and Capt. Riley being aggressive towards Jack Forrest for the questioning of the murder of his wife as it almost looked like a real questioning session with police officers towards a suspect as a good cop / bad cop situation.
A perfect campy moment when a cheating family man stops by to try and pick up a hooker and spots an undercover Theresa Mallory with him acting nearly threatening asking if she's an undercover cop and she replies correctly and gets cute with him as this scene was a classic for sure. Then a nice moment when she walks near an alleyway and spots a dark figure of Matt and a good intense moment when he tries to strangle her with nice back camera shots on this and other intense shots with this happening as she tries to fight him off along with Frank and nice shocking reactions towards them when they see his size. Good moments on them firign their gun and a good close up shot on his body being hit by bullet holes and him surviving this as it was a good scene revealing an invincible killer like we've seen in other horror flicks.
We spot a nice horror scene with Sally Noland holding Matt's hand near a dark wreckage area acting motherly and telling him about his insane behavior as this was a great touch and well done making it look like a good direction to the horror in the film. Plus a nice moment when Frank is spying on them and she hears him as well as firing her gun away as this looked intense.
Of course we see a nice flashback scene of a prison with prisoners staring at Matt with evil looks on their faces. We see a good shot onthis fellow in a shower scene as you can finally spot what he looks like and was well done on his brutal battles with the prisoners who attack him which was greatly choreographed and very disturbing too. Almost looks as if these prisoners were beaten to death as well as good close up shots on one of them slashing Matt's face as all of this had a great slow motion movements throughout this scene.
There's a great sharp discussion sequence with Jack and Theresa with a doctor discussing Cordell's history and there's some fine disputes that looked good especially from Theresa with her tough attitude. Also a good flashback moment with the doctor testing a bloodied body and checking out their pulse or heartbeats as this was nice and creepy looking.
Another nice moment for slasher fans is spotting some bloodied dead police officers in a station caused by Matt's killing as well as one revealed hung bloodily. Great horror touches indeed combining with the action as well as Theresa handcuffed to another officer and then we see him getting stabbed to death while she tries to drag his body on escaping from Matt coming after her which keeps you in suspense as well as trying to lock a door while using a key to free herself along with a good shot on Matt pounding his fist through the door. This keep you glued to the set wondering if she will manage to escape as well as her trying to get out of a building window which looked terrifying and wondering if she will fall.
A real strong and effective moment with Sally whacking Frank with a metal object going crazy as you wonder if he will manage to survive on what she's doing. Also nice moments with Matt nearly beating Frank to a pulp as you wonder if he will survive this looking brutally intense.
We also see a nice squad car speeding away causing damage as well as Jack handcuffed inside being slammed around as this looked powerful and intense.
Perfect memorable moment when Matt is grabbing a hold of Jack with Theresa trying to save the day pointing a gun towards this maniac and demanding him to put him down which is my favourite scene of all.
Perfect shot on the police vehicle falling into the ocean with Jack falling in as well as this looked perfectly action packed.
Bottom line: This was a neat low budget action and horror put in one which makes the plot of this film very exciting. Cleverly written and shot with lots of chasing and dark moments too. However, although it was supposed to look like New York and was filmed in L.A. you can tell by some of the scenery with the car chasing and other spots like that as half of it was in NY and the other half in L.A. It's a shame they couldn't cheat it.

The acting is very good. Tom Atkins (Frank McCrae) really knew how to come across playing a tough cop showing all his actions to prove that. He gets into his character greatly in which he shows of a good stern no nonsense attiude and showing off some great energy as well as reacting to stuff marvellu=ously as well as suffering in pain in certain scene's as he seemed realistic on that.
Bruce Campbell
(Jack Forrest) is of course phenominal playing a blunt and heroic cop in the film proving he can do other horror films that the Evil Dead flicks. Offers a good charm to his presence. Also really gets into the action greatly when he had to as well as reacting well to the intense moments involving him.
Laurene Landon
(Theresa Mallory) was perfect in her role as an uncover cop as she seems very outgoing in her role too and shows a perfect tough as nails attitude. Does well as an undercover hooker as well as acting fresh when she tells someone she's undercover getting cute and does this with great style. Has a real classic line towards the onscreen killer when she is holding a rifle demanding him to put someone else and says it with heroic strength. Plus had terrific lung power to scream in a horror flick.
William Smith
(Capt. Riley) looked great in his part as a leader on the police force with his grunting voice. He for sure had the perfect rugged looks along with doing a good seriousness to everything. Does well getting to the point of stuff and being straight forward as he was a true character actor for this type as he has it nailed down portraying a great leader of the police squad.
Richard Roundtree
(Commissioner Pike) only had a few scene's in his supporting role but shows it with a great strong presence in which he offers a great seriousness as well as having an attitude in which he seemed somehwat arrogant. For sure reminds you as one of those closed minded types of the law that you don't care for. Still had the knack in this one to play these types since he was often typecast as a lawman.
Robert Z'Dar's
(Matt Cordell) appearance as the maniac cop looked beautiful as he truly did look intimidating and powerful looking like in a Michael Myers fashion but he stood out more than a Myers character. This was the film that made him a low budget horror film cult icon. Shows a nice violent forceful attitude especially in a shower prison scene as he looked truly deadly. Bless his soul.
Supporting actress Sheree North (Sally Norland) had the perfect part in the film which brings to the horror story in it and knew how to really snap and go nuts with her role as the one befriending the maniac cop in a motherly fashion and does this superbly. Offers a nice mysterious moment during the beginning of her performance as someone eccentric and something not right about her.
Supporting actress Victoria Catlin (Ellen Forrest) has a smaller role but is one of the best cast members in the film even if her role is fairly small as a disturbed wife making her role seeming extremely real. She acts believeably tense and upset too scared to say anything but does anyhow. She reacts perfectly the most as you wonder if she is abused. Performs well when she really loses it towards her onscreen husband in a hotel suit by pointing a gun at him acting crazy too.
We have a good uncredited cameo by writer/director Sam Raimi (Reporter at a Parade) as he says his lines smoothly.
He was a good hyped up fast talker and offers some good timing with his energy into all of this. A decent character actor that he can prove to be instead of working behind the camera.

A woman's throat is gruesomely slit.
Matt Cordell's face is slashed by prisoners at a shower room plus he smashes one of their heads against a wall and blood pours out of his mouth.

Jay Chattaway composed the music for this one and does it with great taste by having some icy synthesizer music as well as some whistling type sounds to the storyline. He also composed some real dark and intense music like the brutal shower brawling scene incliuding heavy drum beats which I thought was his best effort and giving it a good 80's horror feel to it all along with some violin action car chasing music for the other scene's too.

Sally Noland: It couldn't of have just been a bullet-proof vest. I hit him in the head at least twice!
Frank McCrae: Look at the marks on your throat.
Sally Noland: I'm telling you, Frank. His hands were so big, and they felt like ice... even through his gloves. He wasn't breathing.
Frank McCrae: Hah... we won't put that in our report, huh?

Teresa Mallory(Holding a rifle towards Matt Cordell holding Jack Forrest in the air): Put him down Cordell!!!!