The 1988 action-horror flick Maniac Cop remains a cult favorite after more than two decades for several reasons, not limited to its badass cast of schlock legends — Tom Atkins, Robert Z’Dar, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, and a young Bruce Campbell in his first leading role outside the Evil Dead movies — and its memorable tagline: “You have the right to remain silent. Forever.” The movie also gave horror fans who were growing tired of the slasher shenanigans of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger a new unstoppable super killer to root for: Matt Cordell (Z’Dar), a dedicated New York cop who was wrongly convicted, killed in prison, and returned from the dead hungry for vengeance.
The original Maniac Cop was successful enough to spawn two sequels before the would-be franchise petered out in the early 1990s. Now it looks like Officer Cordell is coming back to screens hardcore and he’ll have a major filmmaking talent in his corner.
Nicholas Winding Refn, the acclaimed Danish filmmaker who most recently directed the head-smashing great crime drama Drive, is close to signing on to produce and possibly direct a prequel to the original Maniac Cop. Joining Refn on producing duties will be William Lustig and Larry Cohen, the director and screenwriter (respectively) of the first film. According to Lustig, who has also directed such grindhouse classics as Maniac (an unrelated slasher classic from 1980 that was one of the most controversial films ever made at the time) and Vigilante, said that “the project isn’t 100% signed off on but it’s pretty close.”
Cohen, a legendary B-movie director whose credits include It’s Alive, God Told Me To, and Q The Winged Serpent, said of the project, “Nick (Winding Refn) has been talking to us about it for a while now and I had an idea that would work so we’re going to do it.” The veteran filmmaker who recently has kept busy scripting films such as Phone Booth and the controversial 2007 torture horror flick Captivity said that the intention was to give the Maniac Cop prequel the same heightened comic book noir look of the original but “with a bigger budget than the others have had.”
Seeing as how Refn owes no small debt to hard-driving exploitation movies like Maniac Cop his teaming up with Lustig and Cohen for the prequel would seem like a match made in celluloid heaven. Thought it would be fun to see how the director would resurrect a moribund slasher series revered by the truly devoted horror fans it would certainly be a setback to Refn’s career if he took the directing reigns on this one. His hit film Drive made many critics’ best of the year lists and he’s currently a big-screen remake of Logan’s Run to star his current leading man of choice Ryan Gosling. The deal is not done yet so we’ll see what happens, but I have a feeling that Refn will be satisfied taking only a producer’s role on the Maniac Cop prequel and giving the directing job to a promising talent. Either way the end result should be fun to watch.
[Source: Daily Grindhouse via Collider]