Maniac Cop (1988)
Dir: William Lustig
What would you do if you went up to a police officer looking for help and he simply looks at you with his cold eyes, pulls out a blade and starts chasing you? That’s pretty much the premise of Maniac Cop. It has a lot of actors you’ll recognize from television and other low budget movies (Robert Z’dar, Richard Roundtree and others) and Bruce Campbell is a high point, playing a cop that’s falsely accused of being the killer.
This film plays on the idea of an authority figure who is supposed to help being the villain. In contemporary times, this concept isn’t as surprising as the film wants it to be, but I’ll give it some leeway for it being over twenty-five years old. The citizens and police are shocked at the killers’ hubris at masquerading as an officer of the law, and it goes so far as to show news interviews with people on the street telling reporters that they’re instructing their kids to stay away from police officers in general.
This is a strange mix of a police procedural mystery and a slasher film. Sadly, I don’t see it satisfying a fan of either genre. The first half of the script mostly concerns the police searching the department for one of their own who could be killing random people and Campbell’s characters’ marital woes. When the killer really gets going, the film only has twenty minutes left. The reveal of the eponymous maniac cop’s backstory was a bit far-fetched and wasn’t as satisfying as I felt it should be. All in all, I found this a slightly lower “meh” than mediocre. Even Bruce Campbell couldn’t keep me that interested in it.