Starring: Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Laurene Langdon
Duration 85 mins
Reviewed by Guy Adams
Good old Arrow Video, like a charity shelter for unwanted, flea-infested, funky smelling movies, theyâ€™ve spent the last few years taking the best of the worst under their wing, giving them a good wash, new suit and sending them back out in the world to stand proud.
Todayâ€™s tramp du jour is the late eighties thriller Maniac Cop. Born from an impeccable exploitation background, written and produced by Larry Cohen (The Stuff, Q: the Winged Serpent) directed by William Lustig (Maniac, Vigilante) and starring Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell, you should already know if youâ€™re going to like this movie without my needing to tell you.
Beyond its fun, eighties-entrenched atmosphere (the Jay Chattaway soundtrack, sadly only ever released on vinyl, is a joy) thereâ€™s a great deal to love. Its simple, yet effective idea perhaps seems a little less revolutionary given recent news events but itâ€™s still accurately summed up in the movieâ€™s opening sequence: a girl on the run from muggers sees a cop in the distance, thinks sheâ€™s safe and then discovers sheâ€™s in greater danger than ever. Itâ€™s played admirably straight and Robert Zâ€™Dar is a perfect screen monster, a terrifying side of beef in an immaculate uniform, you have little doubt he could snap you in half the minute you crossed his path. Itâ€™s a fun, energetic 85 minutes and, frankly, far better than you might imagine it to be.
Arrowâ€™s presentation is excellent, the movie looks and sounds a world away from my old Video Collection VHS (so many of these old pictures are entrenched in that format, itâ€™s like listening to a knackered old cassette on CD for the first time). The disc comes with a trailer, a fun interview with star Tom Atkins (as well as an introduction that contains a massive plot spoiler which is perhaps ill-advised!) and a booklet from Calum Waddell. Highly recommended.