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Maniac Cop 2 – 7

Director – William Lustig

Cast – Robert Davi, Claudia Christian, Michael Lerner, Bruce Campbell, Laurene Landon, Robert Z’Dar, Clarence Williams III

Release Year – 1990

Reviewed by John of the Dead

In 1988 I was three years old (I know you don’t care) and director William Lustig returned to the horror genre after an 8 year hiatus with the Bruce Campbell / Tom Atkins-starring Maniac Cop, one of my favorite horror films. Two years later he returned and continued the vengeful cop insanity with Maniac Cop 2 – a step down from its predecessor but still a worthy watch for fans of the series. Taking place immediately after the events of Maniac Cop, former officer Matt Cordell returns from the grave to wreak having on New York City by killing police officers, those responsible for his imprisonment, and anyone else who gets in his way. The NYPD does not only have their hands full keeping the Matt Cordell case under wraps, but they are overwhelmed with catching a serial killer plaguing the streets after dark. As Detective Sean McKinney and police psychologist Susan Riley inch closer to catching their suspects, Cordell and the serial killer team together and leave the city, it’s police department, and its judicial system in shambles.

If you head into this experience expecting more of the same then you should be pleased with the end result. I was glad to see both director William Lustig and writer Larry Cohen return to continue what they started (there are 3 installments in the series) and pretty much continue in the same vein as the initial film. The film’s first act is a shocker that consists of scenes that will turn leave the viewer with their jaw hanging low, but after that we get the usual template of a detective hunting down a killer that needs to be stopped. Cohen’s story somewhat builds on Cordell’s character, giving us more insight on the events that lead to his incarceration and the events that lead to his brutal “death”. It is obvious that Cordell is getting closer to avenging his death against the corrupt officials who set him up, giving us a revenge element that I wish would have hit a bit harder and been used to full potential because it was not. Cordell continues to grow as we see him join forces with a serial rapist, and while his reasoning for doing this was never really mentioned it helped show more of his character and made him just a tab bit more…”human”. In addition to all of this you can expect more of the usual Maniac Cop antics, with police officers being killed by a menacing man in a police uniform, although I noticed the kills in this piece were nowhere near as brutal as they were in its downright awesome predecessor.


William Lustig’s direction is good and he once again gives us a simple and effectively enjoyable experience. From the get-go he shocks viewers with a grisly death that I did not expect to see story-wise and was even more shocking thanks to his execution. I mentioned earlier that the deaths were much tamer than the ones seen in the previous film, but Lustig still managed to provide positive kills despite a lack of gore and brutality. Good atmosphere and enjoyable sets/locations also played into the Lustig’s ability to grasp the viewer’s attention, giving us that classic 80s atmosphere that we just don’t seem to get these days. The acting performances were positive and Robert Davi did very well as the film’s lead, Det. Sean McKinney, but I was left missing the feel that Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins provided in the first film. In the end Lustig once again proved himself as a solid horror director, leaving me wishing that he would give us more films and stop being a lazy producer; you know I’m kidding.

Overall, Maniac Cop 2 is a good sequel to one of the genre’s most enjoyable horror films. It does take a step back compared to its predecessor but nonetheless gives viewers a solid horror experience that continues one of the genre’s coolest storylines.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

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