Maniac Cop will start shooting this summer in Los Angeles, according to Variety, but if fans of the original (and the horror genre) are expecting something similar, they may be disappointed.
Co-producer Nicolas Winding Refn (the man behind Bronson, Drive, Only God Forgives, and The Neon Demon) is teaming with the original’s director and longtime friend, William Lustig, to bring the killer cop back to the big screen, but the two are taking a different approach.
The official synopsis (per Variety) is that it will follow “a determined L.A. police officer who sets out to reveal the truth about the brutal murders of innocent people by one of her fellow cops.”
The new Maniac Cop is being called by Refn’s partner Lene Børglum “not a pure horror film,” but instead a “contemporary and realistic action thriller.”
Remake of ‘Maniac Cop’ to Begin Shooting This August with John Hyams Directing and Nicolas Winding Refn Producing #… pic.twitter.com/ohgcMTdJzf
— Charles (@CoolCharles1) March 26, 2017
Compare this to the slant of the original starring the late Robert Z’Dar in the titular role.
The first film begins with eerie music and close-ups of an unidentified officer gearing up in full dress blues.
It then cuts to a woman set upon by some street thugs. The intent is to rob and possibly rape her. She resists and sees a police officer standing in the distance. Seeing the shadowy figure as her safe-haven, she runs to the hulking man screaming for help.
The thugs pause their chase to see what happens next. That’s when “Maniac Cop” brutally kills the woman to the horror of her attackers.
This sets off a string of quick slasher movie-styled kills that set the tone of Maniac Cop as clear horror.
The new version will focus on a female protagonist, while the 1988 original took a trickier tack when setting its major characters.
At first — and this is getting into spoiler territory, so pause here if you want to watch the original — the main character appears to be a grizzled veteran detective played by Tom Atkins.
Two side characters — a philandering couple of cops played by Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon — are at first mere pawns of the unknown killer, but they later take over as leads when Atkins’ Frank McCrae is surprisingly dispatched about halfway through the film.
The new Maniac Cop appears to be following the original’s example in setting a strong female lead, but this time around it appears that the still uncast actress will be pulling more of the film on her shoulders.
Directing the new film will be John Hyams, who has limited feature film experience — Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning are two of his biggest credits — but he does possess ample experience on the one-hour scripted drama side with the gritty pedigree on shows like NYPD Blue and Chicago P.D. that a modern Maniac Cop, as revised, will require.
According to Børglum, Hyams was chosen “because we love his visual style and his ability to work extremely well on a limited budget.”
— The A.V. Club (@TheAVClub) March 24, 2017
As for the rest of the similarities and differences between the two films, audiences will have to wait and see how it plays out.
The original dealt with themes like public fear of the police and vigilante justice, two elements that would not be out-of-place in a post-Ferguson world.
But what do you think, readers?
Do you think it is wise for any remake to switch the genre of its inspirational film? And are you looking forward to the new Maniac Cop? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Arrow Films]