Larry Cohen, James Glickenhaus (executive) for Shapiro-Glickenhaus
directed by William Lustig
starring Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Robert Z'Dar, Sheree North, Nina Arvesen, Nick Barbaro, Lou Bonacki, Barry Brenner, Victoria Catlin, James Dixon, Corey Michael Eubanks, Jill Gatsby, Rocky Giordani, John F. Goff, William J. Gorman, Jon Greene, Teddy M. Haggarty, Dan Hicks, Erik Holland, Dennis Junt, Marcia Karr, Judy Kerr, Jake LaMotta, Judy Levitt, Jason Lustig, William Lustig, Vic Manni, Tito Núñez, Daniel Ortiz, Louis Pastore, Frank Pesce, Bernie Pock, Ed Polgardy, Sam Raimi, Carla Reynolds, Jefferson Richard, Adele Sparks, Tom Taylor, Ingrid Van Dorn, Luke Walter, Patrick Wright, Nicholas Yee, Lee Arnone-Briggs, Nay K. Dorsey, George 'Buck' Flower, Bill Waldron, Alma Washington
written by Larry Cohen, music by Jay Chattaway, special effects makeup by More Than Skin Deep
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A man in a police uniform (Robert Z'Dar) is running around town,
killing people - and the police commissioner (Richard Roundtree) wants to
keep things under wraps, fearing a mass panic. But Frank McCrae (Tom
Atkins), the detective on the case, feels the public needs to be warned
and lets details of the case slip to the press - with the very result of a
mass panic and upright citizens starting to fear the police, even shooting
officers in assumed self defense.
Ellen Forrest (Victoria Catlin) starts
to suspect that her cop husband Jack (Bruce Campbell) is actually the
"maniac cop", and her suspicions are only fueled by phonecalls
she receives every now and again, so one evening when he goes out to work,
she follows him to a motel ... and finds him in bed with another woman,
Theresa (Laurene Landon). She storms out, but runs right into the hands of
the maniac cop, and ... the next day, Ellen's body is found in the very
room Jack cheated on her the night before, and of course, Jack becomes
chief suspect, not only of having killed her but of being the maniac cop.
So everybody celebrates another case closed, everybody but McCrae, who
figures Jack was made the scapegoat and gets the identity of Theresa, whom
Jack tried to keep out of this, out of him. Conveniently she's also a
police officer, and even more conveniently McCrae can catch up with her
just before the maniac cop can slaughter her. From Theresa, McCrae learns
that the only person that knew of her affair with Jack was evidence room
clerk Sally (Sheree North), and when McCrae trails her, she leads him
right to the maniac cop, apparently a highly decorated officer, Cordell,
who was believed to have been killed in prison. McCrae and Theresa tell
the news to Jack, who's still in a holding cell - when the maniac cop
attacks, killing most of the precinct and even McCrae, and it's more dumb
luck than anything else that Jack and Theresa manage to escape. Problem
is, they have to hunt the maniac cop down now, while everybody on the
police force think it's Jack ...
Maniac Cop is
cerrtainly not as hard-hitting and downright gruesome as William Lustig's
earlier genre fave Maniac, and not
as subversive the bulk of screenwriter Larry Cohen's directorial outputm
but for what it is, the movie's just great, a solidly put together B-movie
that's full of excitement, fights, kills, chases and everything else you'd
expect from an action/horror hybrid, and that manages to bring its a bit
over-the-top story across in a believable way while still packing a bit of
social commentary into the mix. And the cast of B-movie favourites is at
least as solid as the direction, making this one really cool piece of
genre entertainment, and one that actually stands the test of time.