(1997/Blue Underground Blu-ray)
B- Sound: B- Extras: B- Film: B-
like a dark satire, especially when it works.
William Lustig followed his successful Maniac Cop films with Uncle
Sam (1997), an underrated slasher comedy with a difference penned by Larry
Cohen, a writer and director himself who helmed classics like It’s Alive, Black Caesar and God Told Me
To. Cohen also penned Maniac Cop for Lustig and they may have
been trying for another franchise series.
It did not happen, mostly because of timing (Bill Clinton was president,
so no one was weary of nationalism at the time) so an ambitious film missed the
up is similar to the late, great Bob Clark’s Deathdream (available on Blue Underground DVD, reviewed elsewhere
on this site) where a soldier seems to have died in combat, but when the body
comes back home, it is alive and goes on a killing spree. While in Clark’s film, they think the death
is reported incorrectly, the death of the Major (played by the great character
actor William Smith of Grave Of The
Vampire, Boss and 1982’s
Schwarzenegger Conan) is very dead,
but not his patriotism. So he comes back
as the mythical U.S. icon and starts to kill anyone he deems “unpatriotic” and
with the 4th of July coming up, the body count could be very high.
of being another slice & dice film, the sardonic tone is fun and
interesting, though the film earns its R-rating. In part, the film is having fun with the look
of John Carpenter’s original Halloween
(1978) down to making fun of another holiday with a mysterious killer on the
loose, but best of all is the unique chemistry Lustig and Cohen have when
making anything together. For all the
bad Horror films of late and bad remakes in particular, this one would be tough
to remake and in a new political climate, gains new relevance making it ripe
for rediscovery. Isaac Hayes, Bo
Hopkins, P.J. Soles and Robert Forster also star.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is shot in the Super 35mm film format by
Director of Photography James A. Lebovitz (The
Toxic Avenger) in some of his best work to date with interesting
compositions and suspenseful lighting.
However, the master used here is a little weak, but this is a
good-looking print and I doubt a DVD could look any better overall. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 7.1 mix
is superior to the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX mix also included, but the Dolby
Digital 5.1 theatrical release has some sonic limits (likely from budget in
part) that show its age versus new digital 5.1 films, but it is still decent
and Mark Governor’s score is not bad either.
Maybe the 7.1 was pushing things, but you can compare to the Dolby 5.1
and judge for yourself.
include Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel, the original theatrical trailer, poster
& stills gallery, Five Stunts with Audio Commentary by Stunt Coordinator
Spiro Razatos and two feature-length Audio Commentary tracks, both with
Lustig. He is joined by Hayes on one and
Cohen & Producer George G. Braunstein on the other.
on Lustig’s Maniac Cop, try our
coverage of the DVD from Synapse:
- Nicholas Sheffo