Cops. Action

Maniac Cop (1988) - William Lustig

William Lustig does an amazing job of capturing the raw visceral grittiness of the big city. His film Maniac is something that will stay with me. It was barbaric. Maniac Cop isn't far behind that feature. It deals with some really heavy stuff. Especially in our modern day climate. I had only seen the third sequel before actually viewing this one. I got excited when I saw the all star cast. Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree and of course Robert Z'Dar.

A cop is going around killing innocent people. Just brutally massacring them. Tom Atkins plays the detective that is hot on his trail. Bruce Campbell plays the poor chump that is getting framed for these horrific killings. The police are trying to figure out who is killing civilians while the public is turning on them. Robert Z'Dar plays the Maniac Cop and does an amazing job. 

Maniac Cop is a great eighties movie. It has suspense, terror, horror and action. Bruce Campbell shows that he's a believable leading man. Robert Z'Dar is terrifying as the titular character. I really enjoyed the story. The writing isn't half bad. As I had said above, the killings are pretty brutal. The killer really likes using this hidden dagger in his nightstick. 

The scenes with the public outcry against the police, hits a little too close to home in this day and age. Police brutality is a very real thing that has been a political hot-potato for years. The fact that the Maniac Cop was a good cop for administering his own type of justice, before his accident, is ridiculous. But that just makes it a product of it's time. A remake is in the works that is being produced by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon) and should be very topical. It will be interesting to see how that turns out. Refn says that it will be political. 

I like this movie. It's raw and creative. The killer is scary. The premise is believable and it's made even better on VHS. If anything it's an original movie. It's not really a movie for parties. But it's good for late nights and rainy days. If you like Bruce Campbell then this is for you too. 


William Lustig


Larry Cohen


Larry Cohen


Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon and Robert Z'Dar


Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment

Release Date: 

May 13, 1988



Did ya know: 

When Theresa is being attacked after the commissioner is killed, she locks herself in a room with boxes that say westlake on them. Peyton Westlake was also the name of Liam Neesons character in Darkman, which was directed by Sam Raimi, who has a cameo in this, and Darkman also features a cameo at the end by Bruce Campbell, who stars in this.