|Directed by||William Lustig|
|Produced by||Larry Cohen|
|Written by||Larry Cohen|
|Music by||Jay Chattaway|
Vincent J. Rabe
|Editing by||David Kern|
|Distributed by||Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment|
|Running time||85 minutes|
In New York City, a waitress on her way home is assaulted by two muggers, and seeks aid from a police officer, who breaks her neck. Over the next two nights, this "Maniac Cop" commits more murders, prompting Lieutenant McCrae (Tom Atkins), who was told by his superiors to suppress eyewitness accounts that the killer was wearing a police uniform, to pass on information to a journalist, in an attempt to protect civilians. Unfortunately, this causes panic and dissent among the city, and results in innocent patrolmen being shot to death by paranoid people.
One night, Ellen Forrest (Victoria Catlin), who suspects that her husband Jack (Bruce Campbell) may be the Maniac Cop, follows him to a motel, where she catches him in bed with a fellow officer, Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon). Distraught, Ellen runs out of the room, and is slain by the murderer, who leaves her body in the room Jack and Theresa were using. Jack is arrested under suspicion of killing his wife and the other victims, but McCrae believes Jack has been framed. McCrae gets Jack to tell him about his relationship with Mallory, who is attacked by the Maniac Cop while working undercover as a prostitute. The killer (who is deathly cold even through his gloves and does not appear to be breathing) is fought off by Mallory and McCrae, who shoot him several times, though he appears unfazed by the shots.
McCrae has Mallory hide out in his apartment while he goes to the station to see Sally Noland (Sheree North), the only person who Mallory told about her affair with Jack. When Sally leaves the station, McCrae follows her to a warehouse, where she meets the Maniac Cop, who she refers to as "Matt". Returning to police headquarters, McCrae goes to the clerical room and looks over files relating to Matthew Cordell, a fellow officer who was imprisoned in Sing Sing due to his "shoot first, ask questions later" style of policing, and how close he was to uncovering corruption in city hall. While McCrae is looking into his past, Cordell flashes back to being mutilated and killed in a shower room in Sing Sing.
McCrae and Mallory visit Jack, and tell him that they think Cordell is the real killer, and that they are going to visit the chief medical examiner at Sing Sing. When McCrae leaves to go to the clerical room, he is attacked by Sally, who is in hysterics, convinced that Cordell is going to turn on her. After finding a policeman hanging in a noose, Sally is grabbed by Cordell, and beaten to death. Hearing the commotion, Jack and Mallory break out of the interrogation room, and find the corpses of numerous officers strewn about the halls of the building. Jack tells Mallory to go to McCrae's car while he searches for Cordell, who disappears after throwing McCrae out a window. Jack, who looks like the one responsible for the carnage to responding officers, flees with Mallory.
The two go to see Sing Sing's medical examiner, who admits that while he was preparing to autopsy Cordell, the officer showed faint signs of life. The examiner secretly released Cordell into Sally's care, convinced he was completely brain dead. During the 50th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, Jack waits outside as Mallory warns Commissioner Pike (Richard Roundtree) and Captain Ripley (William Smith) about Cordell, but the two refuse to believe her and have an officer arrest her under suspicion of helping Jack escape. Pike and Ripley go to leave, and are stabbed to death by Cordell, who goes after Mallory, knifing the policeman left to guard her. Mallory escapes through a window, while Jack is arrested and placed in a van, which Cordell hijacks.
Mallory and another officer give chase to the van, which Cordell takes to his warehouse hideout, running over the watchman on the way in. Cordell attacks Mallory and Jack, kills the other officer, and tries to escape in the van when backup the dead policeman called for closes in. Jacks clings to the side of the van and fights for control of it, distracting Cordell and causing him to drive into a suspended pipe, which impales him. Cordell loses control of the vehicle, which crashes into the river, and sinks. The van is fished out, and as it is searched, Cordell's hand shoots out of the water.
In the extended cut of the film, corrupt mayor Jerry Killium relaxes in his office, content the Maniac Cop is gone. After Killium's assistant leaves, Cordell (who was hiding behind a curtain) murders the mayor offscreen.
- Tom Atkins as Detective Lieutenant Frank McCrae
- Bruce Campbell as Officer Jack W. Forrest, Jr.
- Laurene Landon as Officer Theresa Mallory
- Richard Roundtree as Commissioner Pike
- William Smith as Captain Ripley
- Robert Z'Dar as Officer Matthew Cordell
- Nina Arvesen as Regina Sheperd
- Sheree North as Officer Sally Noland
- Victoria Catlin as Ellen Forrest
- Ron Holmstrom as Building Superintendent (uncredited)
- "Main Title"
- "A Night in the Park"
- "Flashback Montage"
- "The Chase"
- "Morning Train"
- "Face Down"
- "Sally's Drive"
- "On the Ledge"
- "Splash Dance"
Home video release
The film was first released on DVD on April 8, 1998 by Elite Entertainment, and included a commentary by director William Lustig, writer Larry Cohen, star Bruce Campbell, and composer Jay Chattaway as well a trailer and deleted scenes. Later, on November 14, 2006 a "special edition" DVD was released by Synapse Films. This version includes the film restored and re-mastered with a DTS soundtrack. In October 2011 Synapse Films released a Blu-ray edition of the film.
The film was mostly panned by critics at the time of its release. It currently holds a 50% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics noted that the filmmakers did not do anything interesting or unexpected with its high concept plot.
- Maniac Cop at allmovie
- Maniac Cop at Rotten Tomatoes
- Maniac Cop at the Internet Movie Database