Film: Maniac Cop

You have the right to remain silent... forever!
— A tagline so nice they ended up using it thrice

A 1988 horror movie, directed by William Lustig and produced by Larry Cohen.

The film tells a story of Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar), a former NYPD officer who was sentenced to prison for his excessive Police Brutality. He suffered heavy abuse in jail from the scum whom he had arrested himself and was left heavily scarred and brain-damaged from their attacks. He is now presumed by most people to be long dead. Cordell starts wreaking havok in New York by dressing as a cop and murdering innocent civilians, which leads to city-wide panic. Detective McRae (Tom Atkins) is set to work on the case and is later joined by Officer Forrest (Bruce Campbell) who is framed for the killings and must clear his name.

The film was followed by two sequels: Maniac Cop 2 in 1990 and Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence in 1993.

These films contain examples of:

  • Bungled Suicide: Cordell's girlfriend attempted to kill herself when he is sent to prison. She failed, and now she wears legbraces because of it.
  • California Doubling: Only couple of scenes were actually shot in New York in the first film.
  • The Cameo:
  • Car Cushion: Cordell throws Detective McRae through a window into a taxi cab.
  • Clear My Name: Jack Forrest is framed for Cordell's killings, and has to find evidence to prove himself innocent.
  • Cowboy Cop: Cordell before he was sent to prison. Officer Sullivan in the third film.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Cordell drowns one unfortunate guy in wet cement.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: McRae says this when he is questioned about his injured hand.
  • Detective Mole: Sally Noland, who Cordell's girlfriend before he was arrested, feeds him in formation from the inside.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Frank McRae is the protagonist for most of the film before being murdered by Cordell towards the end of the movie.
  • Dirty Harriet: Theresa Mallory, Officer Forrest's girlfriend, works for vice squad and she is seen working undercover as a prostitute befor Cordell attacks her.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Mallory describes Cordell's hands to be as cold as corpse's after she is almost strangled by them.
  • The Faceless: Cordell's current face is usually obstructed by shadows and is not shown fully until the end.
  • Famed In-Story: We only get secondhand information from Cordell's hero cop days.
  • Frameup: Officer Forrest is framed for the killings by Cordell's ex-girlfriend.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Cordell's flashback in shows him being shanked by Sing Sing inmates in the shower.
  • Glasgow Grin: One of the many scars that Cordell received from his prison stay was a slash on thr right corner of his mouth.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: As mentioned above, Cordell was left horribly scarred from his prison stay.
  • He Knows Too Much: Cordell was a hero on all accounts, but his arrest was arranged by corrupt politicians for accidentally getting too close to certain organized criminal members , who had dealings with them.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The climax of the film takes place during St Patrick's Day.
  • Immune to Bullets; Cordell is unfazed by McRae and Mallory shooting him repeatedly in the chest. The earlier films tried to explain this by claiming that Cordell was effectively bulletproof after getting attacked in prison, which left him impervious to pain (because, obviously, several bullets to the heart and lungs is only fatal because it hurts so darn much). In the later movies he's explicitly undead, doing away with the need for any other type of Hand Wave.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Cordell accidentally impales himself whilst escaping in the first film's climax.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Cordell is a former police officer who was framed for Police Brutality and still dresses in his old uniform while he carries out his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Killer Cop: Guess who.
  • Leitmotif: Cordell has a distinctive two-note song, which expands into a full theme when we get to learn his backstory.
  • Lock and Load Montage: The opening credits shows Cordell suiting himself up for his twisted duty.
  • Neck Lift: Cordell does this to his first victim, followed by a Neck Snap.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Detective Mallory leaves an interrogation room and talks to the man overseeing it, only to find him to be a corpse. Then Forrest exits the room and the camera pans to the left, revealing an another corpse that should have been in the field of her vision.
  • No Tell Motel: Forrest's wife follows him into a motel after he leaves their home, and finds him there in the embrace of another woman.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: After Cordell unsuccesfully tries to kill Officer Mallory, she and McRae empty their revolvers at him. He disappears between cuts after this happens.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Basis of Cordell's flashback theme.
  • Re Cut: Some releases of the film include additional scenes involving the corrupt mayor, which were added to beef up the running time for television airings.
  • Selective Squeamishness Suppression: Along with the coroner, Detective McRae isn't bothered about the corpses in the morgue. The fellow detective with him, not so much.
  • Sword Cane: Cordell's weapon of choice is blade hidden in a billy club.
  • Title Drop: After hearing from McRae that innocent people are being killed by an assailant dressed as a police officer, Ginny proclaims "Jesus, maniac cop?"
  • The Voiceless: Cordell for most of the time, but he opens his mouth once during the second and third movie.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Forrest's wife thinks that his longnight shifts are cover for the fact that he is the maniac cop, but following him one night reveals that he insteads cheats her with Officer Mallory. She dies soon after makng this discovery.