Keith Adams Jr.’s review published on Letterboxd:
As recent events have shown, it’s been a wise decision to not trust ALL cops, whether or not some are good or bad. However, one man was ahead of the curve with this sentiment and that man was none other than the incomparable, influential, legendary, gone-but-not-forgotten master of genre cinema, Larry Cohen! He wrote and produced this cult classic (which is streaming now on Shudder) with Maniac and Vigilante helmer William Lustig behind the camera directing. Someone in New York is killing both criminals and innocents and he wore a cop uniform. The police department investigate the situation and think they have a suspect in officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) when his wife (Victoria Catlin) is murdered but when the city keeps getting terrorized and more bodies start piling up, Lieutenant Frank MacRae (Tom Atkins) & Officer Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) investigate further and discover that the actual suspect is Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), a type of gung-ho cop who shot first and asked questions later but then was arrested and killed in prison, only to come back from the dead and begin a murderous rampage fueled by revenge and bloodlust. Now, Forrest & Mallory set out to stop Cordell’s deadly killing spree and clear Forrest’s name before the Big Apple have the right to remain silent....forever. A few years ago, I was made aware of Maniac Cop by way of the 2 sequels that aired on TV (they’re also available to stream on Shudder), then I watched the “Exploring....” episode of “Good Bad Flicks” years later and every time I try to check it out, the Blu-ray was out of my price range or it wasn’t streaming anywhere. Then, I checked Shudder, not having the movie on my mind at the moment, and there it was. The first Maniac Cop movie and the 2 sequels. I’ll see the sequels before my free trial ends this weekend but it was the first movie that I really wanted to check out. Now, the acting is sometimes a bit iffy but it still has a good quality that’s on par with the movie, the score is tonally matched and it has a strong balance of action and horror. Plus, like any movie involving Larry Cohen, there’s something smart there that wouldn’t be noticed at first but then something in your head snaps and you get it and that is that sometimes, our trust in police can be shaky, to say the least, so it can be hard to spot who’s good or who’s bad or who’s in the gray area and that’s what Cohen & Lustig was going for with this movie. Maniac Cop is an exciting, tense and entertaining piece of cult cinema and has a surprising amount of smarts thanks to its genius writer/producer. Give it a watch if you haven’t!