FANGORIA’s Stream to Scream: “MANIAC COP 2”
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for FREE at ourHulu channel. However, to give you a better look at what’s in store, FANGORIA is providing you with a look into some of the channel’s terrifying titles with STREAM TO SCREAM.
What would you expect from a sequel to MANIAC COP, the William Lustig classic horror flick featuring one of New York’s Finest as an undead and unstoppable killing machine? Of course, the first being a byproduct of ‘80s horror, what’s normally expected would be more of the same, but with some fresh faces to be pulverized. However, Lustig, even though indulging in some monotony, does attempt to make something more out of MANIAC COP 2, and somehow establishes some pretty solid continuity along the way.
The MANIAC COP series is one born out of gimmick necessity, as holidays and professions were being given the slasher movie treatment left and right. Seeing that no one had yet to capitalize on the killer cop movie, horror extraordinaire Larry Cohen took to the page, adding in monster movie elements as to keep the film from rousing up too much controversy. Cohen found a perfect partner-in-crime to helm the creature feature in MANIAC director William Lustig, who would take his brash and bloody aesthetics to give the film the murderous streak it’s known for today. The film was not a critical or commercial hit, but its home video following and loyal cult audience roused up enough interest to bring back the MANIAC COP to the streets of New York.
Both Cohen and Lustig returned and the results definitely show, as the film is brutal, fun and quite interesting. The film directly follows the first, going so far as to still include Laurene Landon and Bruce Campbell, and, of course, Robert Z’dar returns behind the badge of MANIAC COP. However, MANIAC COP doesn’t look to be a complete rehash of the original, adding a second act twist to the premise that sends the film into abashedly bonkers territory.
Car chases, criminal sidekicks and a growling Robert Davi stand out amongst the changes to this film, which also includes a collection of character actors such as Leo Rossi, Clarence Williams III, Charles Napier, Michael Lerner and Claudia Christian to fight against (and sometimes alongside) the titular terror. Also added was a further look into the past of the MANIAC COP, as well as the crime that gave him his scars and his unquenchable thirst for revenge. And worry not, as the film provides plenty of gross and over-the-top gore, rounding out the B-movie experience to perfection.
MANIAC COP 2 is also surprisingly indicative of the changing times of the horror industry, as the era of ‘80s franchising was starting to spread into desperation, and the difficult-to-define ‘90s was on the horizon. MANIAC COP 2 could have been cheap and dismissive of the original, which would have correlated with the first film’s theatrical returns, but Cohen and Lustig went bigger and bolder, offering a film that amplifies craziness while never losing the original spirit of sleazy horror. It’s a genre hybrid with dark humor, and is one of the last of its kind as a piece of horror that was reflective of the genre without being self-aware.
Of course, the film isn’t a complete win, as even a B-movie struggles with dialogue and character development, but even then, any self-respecting genre fan will expect the fun and illogical from a MANIAC COP film; The second of which film still holds up as not only a good chapter in the MANIAC COP trilogy but as one of the best Lustig offerings to date.