1980s Horror Slasher Classic With A Genre Icon Is Streaming Right Now

By Robert Scucci | Updated

As a fan of nearly everything Bruce Campbell touches, I’ll be the first to admit that Maniac Cop wasn’t on my radar until I saw that it was streaming on Tubi (my new favorite streaming platform). It goes without question that the Evil Dead franchise has secured its rightful place in horror history, but not all B-movies can have such a legendary legacy.

I was ready to watch what I was hoping to be an irreverent horror comedy because I don’t read about films before I watch them, and I was surprised that this was meant to be a legitimate scare-fest.

Bruce Campbell’s First Film Without Sam Raimi

Though my expectations were deflated upon this realization, Maniac Cop still holds up for what it is and deserves your attention if you enjoy B-horror movies from this era.

Bruce Campbell has gone on record saying that he doesn’t think Maniac Cop is a good movie, and I don’t necessarily blame him after having starred in one of the best horror comedies of all time because comparison is often the thief of joy. However, this movie showcases Campbell’s ability to be a little less deadpan and more serious when tasked with taking on a lead role in a film that’s not trying to be irreverent by any stretch of the imagination.

Written By The Legendary Larry Cohen

Maniac Cop is very much a criticism of corrupt police work and sensational news media, and it effectively drives this point home. When Bruce Campbell’s Officer Jack W. Forrest Jr. is framed and imprisoned for being the titular antagonist, he’s not allowed to get a word in edge-wise to prove his innocence.

Mutilated Cop Out For Revenge

Lieutenant Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) urges Jack to be patient because he has reason to believe that The Maniac Cop will kill again, exonerating him from his charges. When McCrae and Jack’s lover, Officer Theresa Mallory (Laurene Landon), start their own investigation, they learn that disgraced officer Matt Cordell, who was presumed dead after getting mutilated in a prison shower, may still be alive and out for revenge.

Though it’s obvious to the viewer that Jack isn’t The Maniac Cop, nobody on the force is willing to accept the evidence that’s presented to them, which causes matters to further escalate.

Captures A Very Specific Era Of New York City

Despite its mixed reviews, Maniac Cop has a lot of things going for it because it accurately portrays the mass hysteria that occurs when the general public has reason to believe their lives are in danger. Knowing that there is a killer cop on the loose, civilians immediately begin to distrust anybody in uniform, which puts everybody in New York City on edge.

On one hand, there are honest officers doing their best to keep the streets safe, but they’re now considered to be the enemy. On the other hand, if I were to be pulled over in the tense setting that Maniac Cop establishes, I’d be reluctant to roll my window down.

Maniac Cop Is Streaming For Free


Maniac Cop may not be Bruce Campbell’s most memorable outing, but it’s a solid B-movie that generates enough suspense to be an effective slasher.

Adding Officer Matt Cordell’s implied invulnerability to the equation gives Maniac Cop a supernatural element that is a whole lot of fun to watch play out even though this movie is not a comedy. While I can’t say I’d favor this film over Campbell horror comedies like Bubba Ho-Tep, I’ll give him credit for putting his best foot forward in what I would assume is stepping out of his comfort zone.

You can currently stream Maniac Cop and its two sequels, Maniac Cop 2 and Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence, for free on Tubi. Since I’m late to the party, I’ll definitely be working my way through the rest of the trilogy to see what it’s all about.