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If you are reading this review because you were intrigued by the title MANIAC COP ($30), well then, welcome to exploitation city… and please enjoy your stay.

As far as exploitation films go, MANIAC COP has one of the best tag lines that I’ve ever heard- "you have the right to remain silent… forever." As you might expect, MANIAC COP has no pretensions about being anything other than quick thrill ride about a homicidal maniac hiding behind a badge. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but the movie is a lot more fun than my brief description. I have to admit I had a good time watching this guilty pleasure from genre icons Larry Cohen and William Lustig. Director Lustig does a great job with a making a minuscule budget look like a whole lot more. Lustig effectively stages the film’s action sequences as well as the moments of suspense.

Tom Atkins stars as police detective Frank McCrae who investigates reports of a uniformed police officer who has taken to killing innocent people in various gruesome ways. MANIAC COP also stars Bruce Campbell as patrolman Jack Forrest, who has to escape from jail and prove his innocence when all the circumstantial evidence points to him. The cast of MANIAC COP also features Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Robert Z'Dar and Sheree North. Look for director Sam Raimi and fighter Jake LaMotta in cameos.

MANIAC COP comes to DVD as a Special Edition by the grace of Elite Entertainment. Elite offers the film in the Letterboxed format and has included a number of supplements. The Letterboxed transfer restores the 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, but doesn’t include the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The film’s budget constraints sometimes show up in the cinematography, so MANIAC COP isn’t a demonstration quality DVD. The transfer offers a respectable level of detail and sharpness, however there were some modest incidents of film grain. Colors appeared fairly natural, but hot colors were a bit fuzzy. Digital compression artifacts were never really a serious concern.

MANIAC COP was originally presented in Ultra-Stereo and the Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack offers reasonable fidelity. The track had more atmosphere than clearly defined directional effects.

The DVD’s interactive menus offer access to a great audio commentary featuring William Lustig, Larry Cohen, Bruce Campbell and composer Jay Chattaway. The commentary is filled with a lot of behind-the-scenes information, but it is also a great deal of fun thanks to the spirited personalities of the participants. Other supplements contained on the DVD include theatrical trailers, television spots and additional scenes that appeared on Japanese television.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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