This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Locke.’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Locke watches Arrow Video #1
What is Arrow Video? It's a UK based home video release company who focus mostly on cult films from the 70s and 80s. Bluraywise they clean them up to the point where they look like they were released yesterday with the added bonus of working from masters shot on actual film, which provide a richness of texture to the image you just can't recreate on modern, digital productions. Basically, their Blu's are some of the best in the business.
How blind our trust can be when we're in danger but when even those who exist to protect us are killers, who are we meant to trust and believe in our hour of need? Lustig paints an almost overwhelmingly pessimistic critique of society and most disturbing is almost thirty years on it's still so hauntingly relevant. The only thing that really lets it down are the moments of painful, horror movie bad decision making that unnecessarily drags out the story.
For a gimmick with a movie slapped around it, Maniac Cop is really well put together, I really do miss the days when a cheap horror film could still be cool, stylish and atmospheric and that haunting score helps, a lot. At points this film feels more noir than slasher and I really like that sensibility. The violence ramps up fast, but it's never gratuitous, with Lustig focusing on cool details and interesting visuals over big splatter carnage. Sadly I will admit the film goes out on more of a fizzle, than a bang, which is a shame as it all sorta falls to bits at the most tense moment.
Matt Cordell honestly deserves to be up there with the Michael's and the Freddy's and the Jason's in my mind. Even if we never get a true understanding of Cordell as a character, his physicality is unforgettable. It never gets old seeing him throw people aside like they weigh less than candy floss. Although easily the scariest part of the film is Laurene Landon's makeup... yikes!
The acting is the only part of the film where you basically get exactly what you'd expect. There are only two kinds of performances in this film, phoning it in or overacting hamminess. There is no in between. If only they had a bit more money to get a better cast, although I don't know how much difference it'd really make.
Also, I know this film is probably still talked about today because of Bruce Campbell but if he's the only reason you're coming to this film... don't bother coming at all. He really isn't in the movie a whole lot, and when he does get to finally do something he's a million miles away from Ash. The only Campbell incentive is his shirtless scene, if you're into that kinda thing.
Overall though I'd honestly argue that Maniac Cop is up there with the best of them, slasherwise. It's a stylish, well made movie with an unforgettable force of nature slashing their way through the cast and just an all round great film. If you want to get into slashers, make sure you follow up Halloween with this and Maniac Cop will also make for a great first purchase in your soon to be massive Arrow Video collection. Thanks Arrow!