Production: Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Distribution: Synapse Films
Release: Oct 11th, 2011 (Blu-ray edition)
A lot of people don’t like cops. Complaints and criticisms generally run rampant against our boys (and girls) in blue. But no matter how much we might bitch and moan about getting a speeding ticket, or having a uniform show up on our doorstep when the music is too loud, we still know that cops are there to protect us when the chips are down. However, in the case of Maniac Cop - a classic cult hit from the 1980’s - the citizens of New York find themselves truly terrified by the presence of a brutal murderer roaming the streets in dress blues. He walks like a cop, and does his darnedest to play the part, but instead of slapping the cuffs on drug pushers and pimps, he goes around cutting the throats of innocent citizens.
What I’m reviewing today is not only Maniac Cop, but the Blu-ray release of that picture by Synapse Films. The folks over at Synapse have quickly earned themselves a reputation for putting out exemplary Blu-ray editions of cult classic films from the horror and science-fiction genre. And I’m happy to report that Maniac Cop is no exception to that rule. They did a fantastic job on this one, not only presenting the film in a beautifully remastered 2k high-definition transfer, featuring remixed DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound, but also loading the disc down with outstanding extras like interviews with Robert Z’Dar, Tom Atkins and Danny Hicks, as well as a promotional art gallery and additional footage filmed for the Japanese TV broadcast.
Maniac Cop tells the harrowing tale of Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins), a world-weary detective who gets assigned to an unusual string of murders with a suspect reported to be a man wearing a police uniform. Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) is a young beat cop on the job with problems of his own, including domestic squabbles and infidelity, but he still manages to find even more trouble heaped on his plate when his wife turns up murdered and he becomes the prime suspect.
Jack quickly gets pegged for the Maniac Cop murders, but Detective McCrae has a hunch that something more than just the obvious is going on, and decides to dig deeper. Jack’s girlfriend on the job, Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon), finds herself tangled up in the investigation, and bodies continue to pile up despite Jack being locked behind bars. So it quickly becomes a race against time to uncover the real man behind the manslaughter before there’s no one left to arrest him.
Maniac Cop is a great flick, and although its often strongly associated with Bruce Campbell for his co-starring role, the real primary lead is Tom Atkins, the actor who portrays the grizzled detective trying to ferret out the truth. Robert Z’Dar also plays a significant part in the film, and has a ton of impressive scenes that showcase his physicality and looming presence. All in all, this is a cult classic for a reason. It’s just a damn good movie, and people recognize that.
What makes this particular release of the film so special is that it’s finally available in a truly definitive Blu-ray release with all the bells and whistles. The movie looks as sharp as the day it was filmed (probably more so), and features a truly impressive presentation that includes a crystal clear picture that manages to look sharp and exciting while still preserving the original grain of the film stock. There really should be no doubt concerning the abilities of Synapse Films at this point, but regardless I’ll go ahead and say it; they’ve done it once again. Maniac Cop looks downright beautiful.
If you’re a longtime fan of this film, or just a genre fan looking for a definitive version to finally pick up, the Blu-ray edition is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. So stop hanging around and listening to me drone on about how wonderful it is. Go grab a copy!
This film receives a score of:
8.5 out of 10