Having missed the boat with regard to the slasher boom of the early 80s, Maniac Cop certainly stands the test of time as one of the best slashers of that decade.
We begin at a break neck pace with random civilians of New York city being picked off by a giant in a police uniform whose identity remains a mystery.
The actual police department are now seriously involved as they believe it is someone who is either a cop, or has someone on the inside of the department helping them commit their crimes.
A sense of paranoia engulfs the city after one of the officers leaks the story to the local television station, and a police officer is shot by a civilian who thought they were being attacked by the now dubbed ‘Maniac Cop’.
The film certainly uses the back drop of 80s NYC to its advantage, incorporating the gang craze that took over the streets for most of the decade as well as the real individuality of it. This sort of thing only happens in New York right?
Our killer is slowly brought out of the shadows, and revealed as former Police Officer Matt Cordell who was sent to prison for going over the top in one of his cases. In prison he is attacked by a group thugs; and although believed to be dead he has now returned to the city to exact revenge on the police force and the Mayor he feels betrayed him.
Cordell’s endgame is seen to be the St. Patrick’s Day parade where he intends to kill the Mayor and the Chief of Police and complete his revenge, although he runs into opposition from Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) whose wife was murdered by Cordell during his killing spree.
For a slasher film, Maniac Cop has quite a tight script and certainly doesn’t hold back on its kills; including a brutal Police Station massacre and choking a man in cement.
Our killer is believable in the sense that he has a ‘real motive’ and by keeping his appearance hidden until the finale it makes the reveal all the more gruesome for which I will not spoil.