It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born. For the curious, here are links to 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. We’re throwing chronological order out the window and changing up our game! Make-Out with Violence is a moody, indie horror-romantic-coming-of-age-tale, and the “I couldn’t wait and had to add it to the marathon” special, Maniac Cop 2 is a moody, indie horror… aw who am I kidding? It’s freaking Maniac Cop! He’s an undead maniac and he kills cops! First up is the feature film debut of the Deagol Brothers (longtime friends Chris Doyle and Andy Duensing), Make-Out with Violence, and while I didn’t love it, there was definitely a lot to like – although it is remarkably lacking in both making out and violence. It’s a hardcore indie, summertime after graduation from high school, unrequited-love story that centers on twins Patrick (Eric Lehning) and Carol Darling (Cody DeVos) and how their lives change after finding their friend Wendy (Shellie Marie Shartzer), undead in the woods. I’m sure there’s supposed to be some clever Peter Pan reference going on with the Darling family name and the fixation on Wendy, but honestly, I don’t want to dig around in that. It seems that Patrick, the more outgoing of the twins, has been silently longing for Wendy for a long time. Meanwhile, Carol is crushing on their other female friend, Addy (Leah High), and this summer is his last chance to make a move before she goes off to college to never return. Also in the mix is the youngest Darling son, Beetle (Brett Miller), who narrates the film as a sort of combination Terrence Malick / Wes Anderson character, wise in his youth and usually annoyed with his older brothers. There’s a lot of young love, awkward moments, heartbreak, and disappointment as things begin to go sour for the twins as summer runs its course. For Carol, that means he loses out on love with a living person, and for Patrick, it means that his dead girl needs to be returned to the wild to be discovered and probably destroyed or something vaguely unsatisfying. I will admit, I was kind of expecting something more along the lines of Deadgirl and found myself pleasantly surprised. It’s still creepy and weird, but it’s not perverse in its exposure of toxic masculinity. This is full-on indie arthouse stuff for the most part and while it’s not always a harmonious mixture of genres, ultimately the film comes together to really sell the loss of innocence that is at its heart. If you’re looking for zombies, gore, and more traditional existential dread (as opposed to “I’m 18 and don’t know what I want to do with my life” existential dread), you’ll have to look elsewhere this time. Shartzer plays Wendy without any dialogue, fully inhabiting the character and making her bizarre awkwardness totally believable. She’s not a running zombie, or even much of a shambling one, instead lurching about, dragging herself across rooms on occasion, but mostly just lying around looking dead and gross. It’s easily the best performance in the film (not that I was disappointed with the other performances, unlike other reviewers). The soundtrack to Make-Out with Violence is also a treat, as leads DeVos and Lehning teamed up with the directors to write and perform most of the soundtrack. In fact, you can buy a 2-disc CD with 44 songs at the film’s website. It’s longer than the movie is. After watching Maniac Cop for the first time Sunday night, I’ve become a little obsessed with the film franchise. In 1990, the second film, aptly titled Maniac Cop 2, was released and I’ll be damned if William Lustig and Larry Cohen didn’t up the ante and outperform the original! The film opens with the final action sequence of the previous film, and we watch again as Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon face down Robert Z’Dar before he escapes by driving a police van into the river. A couple of months then pass and for some reason, there are Christmas decorations everywhere (so if you’re looking for a good X-mas flick, this qualifies!) after it being St. Patrick’s Day in the previous film. Campbell and Landon are both back for the sequel, but don’t get attached. Instead, the real leads here are Robert Davi as Detective Lieutenant Sean McKinney – a hard ass cop not too far off from our titular maniac, to be honest – and Claudia Christian as Officer Susan Riley, a police psychiatrist who gets one good action scene, then plays damsel in distress for most of the rest of the film. Michael Lerner is the Deputy Police Commissioner who was in on the original framing and murder of Maniac Cop, Clarence Williams III is a crazy inmate, and if you blink you might miss Danny Trejo as a prisoner in one scene! In what is perhaps the strangest twist to this second film, Maniac Cop (I know, I know, his name is Cordell), for some reason, teams up with a serial killer who targets strippers. In a little bit of Maniacal Trivia, Joe Spinell was originally supposed to play Turkell, the serial killer, but died before filming began. Spinell wrote and starred in Lustig’s earlier low-budget horror classic, Maniac (he was also the baddie, Count Zarth Arn in sci-fi schlockfest Starcrash, and was Squeezit’s Father in Forbidden Zone!). The plot of Maniac Cop 2 is a fresh take, refusing to just rehash the first film and with a much larger budget, Lustig went all out with the stunts, turning this into a much more action-oriented sequel. I mean, soooo many cars are crashed, blown up, and violently destroyed it was astounding. Maybe the most impressive scenes involved Claudia Christian handcuffed to the steering wheel of an out of control car – while outside of the car! – and then there’s a sequence toward the end of the film (inspired by the original The Thing) where Maniac Cop is set on fire, fights with someone who also bursts into flames, crashes through a wall, lands on a prison bus, and then the whole thing explodes in a massive fireball. It’s freaking amazing. And then there’s also this: From what I understand, Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence is the weakest of the bunch, but I guess we’ll find out whether or not that’s true tomorrow night as we change it up again! See larger image Maniac Cop 2 [Blu-ray] You Have The Right To Remain Silent… FOREVER! The ‘Maniac Cop’ is back from the dead and stalking the streets of New York once more. Officer Matt Cordell was once a hero, but after being framed by corrupt superiors and brutally assaulted in prison, he sets out on a macabre mission of vengeance, teaming up with a vicious serial killer to track down those that wronged him and make them pay… with their lives! Robert Davi (LICENSE TO KILL), Claudia Christian (THE HIDDEN), Michael Lerner (BARTON FINK), Laurene Landon (HUNDRA), Leo Rossi (HALLOWEEN II), Robert Z’Dar (TANGO & CASH), Charles Napier (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), and Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD) star in this chilling, action-packed sequel written by Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE) and directed by William Lustig (MANIAC). Featuring a brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original camera negative, this definitive presentation of MANIAC COP 2 comes packed with exclusive Extras! EXTRAS:Audio Commentary with Director William Lustig and Filmmaker Nicolas Winding RefnBack On The Beat – The Making Of MANIAC COP 2Cinefamily Q&A with Director William LustigDeleted SceneTheatrical TrailersPoster & Still GalleryIsolated Music TrackEnhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems New From: $17.94 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.