Written by / 8/01/2011 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

REVIEW OF THE FIRST MANIAC COP

1987 rating: ***1/2
Director William Lustig makes horror and action flicks with a murky, shadowy Film Noir vibe where the night is a character in itself: and not too friendly.

Centering on a killer cop played by the extremely unique Robert D'Zar, faceless through most of the film, the first half is a mystery/thriller, making every policeman, including tough and growling William Smith, a possible suspect.

Poster Art
Tom Atkins serves as the thankless investigator, sure an actual police officer, and not an impersonator, is on the loose. Bruce Campbell is a beat cop and cheating husband both, making him a crooked kind of hero only writer/producer Larry Cohen could create. But most of the bloody fun is the Maniac Cop going from victim to victim. And he could be a zombie, or something otherworldly, because even bullets can’t do the trick. So once the killer's identity is revealed, followed by flashbacks and a b-story about his crippled lover (Sheree North), the action subsides into a much slower, less involving pace. Yet it’s all original throughout: leading to a somewhat overlong car chase, and then a battle with Campbell versus the Maniac Cop. And once his grotesque face is revealed, things rush to a predictable conclusion. And yet, despite the sporadic flaws, it's an action/horror that always keeps the beat.
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