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Maniac Cop

Maniac Cop

By Patrick Samuel • November 4th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
MANIAC COP (Blu-ray)
Arrow Video

Release date: October 31st, 2011
Certificate (UK): 18
Running time: 81 minutes

Year of production: 1988

Director: William W. Lustig
Writer and producer: Larry Cohen

Cast: Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Sheree North

It’s been a long time coming but finally Maniac Cop, the notorious video nasty, cornered me on a cold and lonely Halloween night.

As I drew the curtains and settled down on the sofa for a night of creepy entertainment, the camera closes in on New York City in the late 80’s, Twin Towers and all.

Maniac Cop

It’s late at night and a young woman is walking home. The streets are deserted but out of nowhere she’s jumped by a couple of guys and assaulted in an attempt to rob her.

She puts up a good fight and runs for her life. That’s when she sees the silhouette of a policeman up ahead in the distance.

“Officer! Officer!” she calls out to him and as she gets closer she’s relieved to find safety “Thank God it’s you”. She’s now close enough to get a good look at his face and gasps in terror, but too late, he grips her by the throat and lifts her off the ground as he strangles her, breaking her neck and crushing her larynx.

Maniac Cop

As her throws her limp body to the ground, her would-be-robbers watch from a distance, oddly appalled by this act of violence.

With more random murders in the city and witnesses reporting seeing a hulking figure in police uniform at each scene, Detective Frank McRea (Tom Atkins) quickly figures out that it must be… a police officer. He has a hard time convincing his superiors though who are quick to bring up his earlier suicide attempt to show that he’s really not of stable mind. While the force represses the information, McRea leaks it to the press which sets off a panic with the public.

Maniac Cop

Naturally, with his superiors not being the sharpest tools in the box, they go after the wrong suspects when they do catch on that it really might be someone in the force. Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) and his vice cop girlfriend Teresa (Laurene Landon) are wrongly held on suspicion of the recent murders. The three of them start to work together and do some actual police work; following leads and questioning witnesses and suspects to find who’s doing it and why.

Maniac Cop has an extremely long into where we see the deranged cop getting dressed for “duty” and it’s almost three minutes before the story actually beings. Once it does, it literally hits the ground running and maniac cop concept adds some real tension and excellent scenes of public hysteria once the news breaks.


  • Doomed Detective: Tom Atkins on Maniac Cop
  • Lady of the Night: Laurene Landon Remembers Maniac Cop
  • Scripting A New Slasher Super-Villian: Larry Cohen on Matt Cordell
  • Theatrical Trailer 1
  • Theatrical Trailer 2
  • TV Spots

The point where it goes downhill is when we start finding out more about the killer and seeing him clearly for the first time. The supernatural element feels extremely out of place and no attempt is made to help us understand the killer’s motives. I’ll say nothing about the acting, it is an 80’s slasher movie after all so I knew not to expect Academy Award winning performances, but they were funny.

By its climax, Manic Cop wasn’t adding much atmosphere to our Halloween festivities and after looking forward to it for so many years it felt as stale as the pumpkin on our front porch.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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