October Horrorshow: Maniac Cop 2

It’s October, which means it’s also time for the October Horrorshow. The entire month will be devoted to watching and reviewing horror films here at Missile Test, and there is no rhyme or reason to it. The good. The bad. The putrid. If it’s got blood, it will get a viewing. Today’s film is Maniac Cop 2, from way back in 1990. Why Maniac Cop 2? Why not reserve one of the precious 31 days of October for something worthwhile, like The Exorcist or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or even the first Maniac Cop, of which you will find no review (so far) on this site? The answer is simple. Last night I was trolling the tubes looking for something to watch, and I saw Hulu had added Maniac Cop 2 to its lineup. Having never met a movie I wouldn’t watch, I watched it. I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.

Directed by William Lustig, Maniac Cop 2 continues the story of former NYPD officer Matt Cordell, played by Robert Z’Dar, a veteran b-movie star, in one of his most recognizable roles. Convicted of a crime he did not commit, and brutally attacked and disfigured in Sing Sing prison, this left for dead/undead (it’s never made clear) cop is on a murderous rampage, in uniform, in an attempt to clear his name. This film picks up where Maniac Cop left off, spending the first couple of minutes recapping the previous film. One of the many useful rules of thumb in watching movies is always beware a film that opens with the ending of the previous film (see: any Friday the 13th sequel), and Maniac Cop 2 does indeed prove this a useful precaution.

We see Cordell drive off a pier to his seeming demise, then follow the two central protagonists from the first film, police officers Jack and Theresa (Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon), as they deal with the aftermath and subsequent cover-up of their confrontations Maniac Cop 2with Cordell. Of course, Cordell is not dead, maybe, or there wouldn’t be much of a sequel. A few new central characters are introduced, and the killing starts all over again.

There isn’t all that much substance to Maniac Cop 2. The story is pretty thin, Cordell’s motivations are never made clear until the final act, and the direction isn’t any good. Maniac Cop 2 is just another bad horror film. In watching it, I wasn’t able to enjoy it as kitsch or muster any outrage. It’s just a shitty movie.

Praise can be reserved for the stunt crew, however. That group took some risks in filming Maniac Cop 2. It being a cop film, more or less, I was expecting a car chase or two, but when one of the characters was handcuffed to a steering wheel, OUTSIDE of a car, as it’s sent rolling down a hill, I was impressed. Things didn’t stop there, as a viewer will see if they are willing to plumb the depths and watch this dog. That’s one in the books for Alien: Resurrection. It’s a better film than Maniac Cop 2.

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