IHAO on ... Maniac Cop
There are a plethora of horror movies out there, of all different kinds, qualities, skill, and notoriety. So I want to do a nice mix of things on Netflix, things easy to find, things that are rare, and things some may have never heard of. Plus non-horrory things, too, but that's not important right now. My wife recently had a birthday, so as I looked for things to get her, as the horror lover of the house, I spotted a slasher film I had put on my list a long time ago for one reason, and one reason only: its sequel has an amazing man-on-fire stunt. I know, weird, right. Oh, and it had Bruce Campbell as the protagonist (kinda) and that finished the sell. So I bought it for her birthday.
Maniac Cop tells the story of New York City cops just a week before St. Patrick's Day. A man in a cop uniform has been going around and brandishing his own law, killing innocents. The cops don't really know what to make of it until they find a man who was easily framed, Bruce Campbell. Now Campbell has to find a way to prove his innocence, but the Maniac Cop (Robert Z'Dar) continues to hound them as Campbell and Love Interest look into the Maniac's past.
The conceits of the film are pretty neat. Something that should be safe, cops, turned into something horrific. A time of year that is not normally horrific turned into a killing spree. It has some pretty interesting ideas. The Maniac Cop himself makes for a nicely iconic villain. There is a lot to like about the film.
There's also a whole bunch to not like. It gets really slow in Act 2, Love Interest, while a good actress, doesn't really have much to do, and even our two protagonists, one a cop the other Bruce Campbell, just kind of trade-off screen time. It just doesn't quite work. The whole movie just doesn't quite work ... yet a lot of the stuff is really good, too. Robert Z'Dar, other than his movie climax makeup, is flawless in the role, playing a silent antagonist and merely using very very effective body language to convey a little character to what could just be a Jason rip-off. The climax is also very thrilling, with car chase and shoot out and a mast going straight through the Maniac Cop, it was pretty rad. Except for Bruce Campbell thrown around in the back of the car like an idiot. Just sit down!
Oh, and there's a really weird shot where the mast, just before being driven straight into, totally looks like a dangling pug on a string. It was disturbing for a whole different reason. I stopped and rewound and rewatched over and over with everybody in the house it was so odd.
This whole movie is just this weird up and down. I want to give it a C, but really ... I'm just not positive the good actually equals the bad. I going with a D. D isn't so bad. Dead Heat has a D, and that movie is great and hilarious. In fact, it is a little better than this one. Go read that review, then watch that movie. There, I feel a lot better I'm definitely still looking forward to the sequel, though! And then the other sequel, which will probably be utter garbage.