Screening Maniac Cop

Director William Lustig’s MANIAC COP 2 (1990) picked up right where MANIAC COP (1988) left off and did a great job of continuing the chaos. Both films even had the same tag line: “You have the right to remain silent . . . Forever!” The sequel has badge-wearing wacko Matt Cordell (Robert Z’dar), the crazed, murderous “Maniac Cop” of the first film (now even more monstrously disfigured after a brutal stay in prison) teaming up with Turkel (Leo Rossi), a crazed degenerate serial killer on ‘a crusade against the whores of the world’, who likes to murder strippers. They’re up against frenzied, chain smoking NYPD detective Sean McKinney (movie veteran Robert Davi), who is just one step ahead of a nervous breakdown and feisty police psychologist Susan Riley (the gorgeous Claudia Christian). Sean McKinney’s nerves don’t get much relief when officers Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) and Teresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) insist that Cordell is still alive — not only alive, but an unstoppable killing machine! Maniac Cop breaks Turkel out of jail and, with a group of rancid prisoners, they take Susan hostage so McKinney must muster his forces to hunt down Cordell and Turkel.

MC2 is one of those sequels that’s actually superior to the original. This rather amazing little “B” movie features just about everything you could fit into an 84-minute running time: explosive action scenes, strippers, Bruce Campbell, a terrific cast (Danny Trejo, Charles Napier, and Clarence Williams III have small roles), great gouts of gore, non-stop violence , and a PYSCHO-inspired twist that offs not one, but two main characters in the first 30 minutes.

I saw MANIAC COP at the now-shuttered Sunset Hills Cinema when it was new, but MANIAC COP 2 never played theatrically in St. Louis. You’ll finally get your chance to see it on the big screen when it plays this Friday and Saturday night (November 1st and 2nd) at midnights at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-pointe Theater s part of Destroy the Brain’s monthly Late Night Grindhouse Film Series. The pre-show begins at 11:30.