The police get a bad rap these days. The news is full of stories about brutality, corruption, abuse of power, sexism, racism, and general asshole type behaviour that is pretty frightening considering that these people are supposed to be the good guys. It’s not just the news either. We all have a friend, or a friend of a friend who has had trouble with the folks in uniform, throwing their weight around, and giving the rest of the institution a bad name. I don’t care if you’re a priest or a psycho, the sight of a cop heading in your direction instils an instant feeling of guilt in you, that’s completely inexplicable.
That’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of run ins with the law (sometimes it was even my fault), and I’ve met some really nice, helpful, individuals that just want to do their job and catch the bad guys, but unfortunately uniforms have a way of bringing out the megalomaniac douchebag in some people, and if you catch the villain bug and you’re allowed a gun and handcuffs, well, that’s like Lou Reed and Metallica making an album together.
Maniac Cop does exactly what it says on the tin. A nut job in a police uniform is going around New York butchering random people, causing widespread panic and distrust towards those boys in blue. Bruce Campbell plays the unlucky cop framed for the murders, and his only hopes of vindication are his pouty, vice squad mistress and a grizzled detective that nobody takes too seriously.
Trashy eighties sleaze doesn’t get much better than this, and it’s easy to see why this is such a cult favourite in horror circles. Darkly witty, with a killer that’s one dimensional enough to put it up there with the Voorhees and the Myers, Maniac Cop manages to be simultaneously gritty and cheesy, with an interesting plot, loaded with suspense, paranoia and a City Hall cover up. Certainly a popcorn crowd pleaser for the jaded generation with a satisfying albeit predictable ending, and a sequel that wasn’t as terrible as expected.
Blood, bad haircuts and Bruce Campbell wearing a badge …truly the holy trinity of slasher movies.
Oh and a cameo from goddamn Shaft thrown in just to blow your mind.