Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Maniac Cop (1990)

You have the right to remain silent. Forever.
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Joe Bob Goes To The Drive-In
by Joe Bob Briggs

The Frogs are yelling at the Aussies for making Kangaroo Wine out in the scrubland and putting the name "Australian Beaujolais" on it, which means we might get to see two of my favorite jerk countries beat the bejabbers out of one another.
I read this whole story in the New York Slimes. The Crocodile Dunderheads have been making wine for about 20 years under the names "April Wine" and "Cab Mac" and selling it, basically, to your winos. Then in 1979 they started callin it "Australian Beaujolais" and the sales went up 19,000 per cent and it still only costs about five bucks a bottle while regular Beaujolais, which comes from France, costs about FIFTEEN bucks a bottle.

I don't care diddly what anybody chugs down their throat, bu there's the funny part. France says that there's 9,000 wine producers in the Beaujolais region of France, and that means only THEY can put the name Beaujolais on their label. Course, they said the same thing when California wine growers started slapping French names on stuff right and left, but fortunately we've got a set of law courts that don't give a squat what guys named Jacques want and so we been ripping off their names ever since so that people named Cletis in Buffalo Gap, Texas, can drink out of a bottle with a French name on it even though it was bottled by a guy named Sean and his wife, Heather, who have a p.r. company in San Jose but drive their BMW up to Napa on the weekends to look over their three-acre grape farm run by Meskin labor and eat some soft-shell crab at the Danish restaurant downtown that used to be a perfectly good hardware store before some movie producers from El Lay bought it and made it into the Inn de Scandinavia.

I hope you're following this. In other words, we learned how to rip off the Frogs YEARS ago.But now it's time for a counter-attack for our fellow Frog-giggers in Australia. Here's what we do. First, we tell the Aussies we'll help em out but only if they agree to two things: 1) no more "Dundee" movies or else I'll make "Joe Bob Dundee" where I go to Sydney, buy an elephant gun, and start blowing away koala bears, and 2) more Australian rules football games on ESPN, the ones where players kick one another in the head and suffer permanent brain damage while they're trying to grab a fat football with mud on it.

Next, we get up a petition and rename Sonoma County in California "Beaujolais County." Then we pick 14, 15 towns in Arkansas and name em "Champagne," "Burgundy," "Chablis," on and on, down the line. Then we file a friend-of-the-court brief in Australia saying that it's been TOO LONG that the Frogs have been foisting INFERIOR wine on us by taking advantage of the name of a county in California, and furthermore, they've damaged the reputation of Wiederkehr's Wine, which everybody knows is made in Arkansas for exclusive sales to Indian reservations in Oklahoma, by taking over the names of 15 officially designated Arkansas wine regions, and now, we are DRAWING THE LINE at "Australian Beaujolais." We LOVE Australian Beaujolais. We feed it to babies. We'd a lot rather have that than have more movies with Yves Montand mumbling. In fact, we're thinking of an IMPORT ban on Yves Montand Mumbling Movies. Believe me, it'll work. They'll have to go to Geneva and have a conference to figure it all out. It'll take YEARS.

Speaking of murderous rampages, Maniac Cop came out a couple of weeks ago and even the newspaper ads were great: "You have the right to remain silent. Forever." As if that wasn't enough, they put four drive-in superstars in it--Bruce Campbell, sole survivor of Evil Dead and "Evil Dead II" after he chainsaws his dead zombie girlfriend; Laurene Landon, star of "Hundra," the Amazon goddess who, in order to preserve her race, must journey to the Land of the Bull; Richard Roundtree, Shaft his ownself; and William Smith, The Biller, who has been in approximately 27,000 drive-in movies. "Maniac Cop" is basically what it sounds like, the movie that asks the question, "What would happen if a super-cop got thrown into Sing Sing for refusing to read people their rights before breaking their heads open, and everybody hated him there and so they surrounded him, slashed his face a hundred times, stabbed him through the brain, but somehow he was STILL ALIVE?"

That's right. You guessed it. Jason with a badge.
We're talking no breasts. (Shame on you Laurene.)
Fifteen dead bodies.
Neck snapping.
Teenager through the windshield.
Fresh-cement facial.
Ear-to-ear throat slitting.
Eight-story cop dropping.
One motor vehicle chase, with paddy wagon, two crashes, East River-dunking.
Flagpole through the gizzards.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Tom Atkins, as the detective searchin for the maniac cop, for saying "Look at the size of those hematomas";
Bruce Campbell, as the unhappily married cop who gets blamed for the killings after his wife dies on the night he sneaks out to aardvark with Laurene, for saying "YOU'RE the one that dropped out of therapy";
Sheree North, as the crippled lady cop who helps the maniac kill "those that did wrong to you," for screaming "He knows! He Knows! He knows I'm no good to him!";
Robert Z'dar, as bloody razor-faced Officer Jason;
and Larry Cohen, the writer-producer, who made It's Alive! ("There's only one thing wrong with the Johnson baby--it's alive!"), "Perfect Strangers," "Q," "The Stuff," and "It's Alive Part II," and now does it again with The Fuzz That Won't Go Away.
Four stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
1990 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

Maniac Cop 2 (1991)

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 8/30/91
Officer Cordell STILL can't find a decent plastic surgeon, in "Maniac Cop 2"
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
It's that time of year again. The time when we get the Winnebago down off blocks and drive 140 miles out into the countryside to the Medieval Renaissance Fair where somebody bulldozed a soybean field so we can watch fat girls in flouncy dresses play the lute while we munch on an authentic Weasel-on-a-Stick shishkebob treat.
You probly have your favorite part of the Renaissance Fair, just like I do. Maybe it's those fabulous strolling minstrels in elf hats, playing mandolins with their elbows and singing songs never before heard outside the public library on "Special Education Storytelling Day."

Or maybe it's the guys who dress up in wimp armor--you know, it's not the REAL stuff that weighs 940 pounds, it's this Frederick's-of-Hollywood armor that's made out of chicken wire and papier-mache--and they run around with cardboard swords whacking each other over the head while people in Bermuda shorts that drove in from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, holding Fudgsicles in their hand stand around yelling "Knock him on his rear end!"

Another thing. Remember when you were in elementary school and they forced you to learn how to play the "recorder," that thing that's more complicated than a kazoo but it's not quite a clarinet? And remember how, after you practiced on it for about eight weeks, you invited the parents to the school to hear you make the sound of sixty terrified sewer rats being run over by a steamroller? And remember how, after you got home that night, you said, "Mom, how come the only place anybody plays the recorder is third grade?" And remember how your mom could never answer that question?

Well, now we have the answer. THERE'S 17,000 PEOPLE PLAYING THE RECORDER AT THE RENAISSANCE FAIR! Not only that, but they still sound like sewer rats being run over by a steamroller.
Where do these people come from? Are they born this way? Do they grow up saying, "I can't wait till I'm old enough to put on a frilly shirt and some pantaloons and juggle bowling pins while balancing on a beach ball"? Or is it something that happens later in life? They wake up one morning, their brain has been scrambled during the night, and they're thinking, "You know what? I've always wanted to dress up like a deaf-mute beggar and go around pulling on the pants legs of tourists."

You know what I'm talking about? They hire these people to be scenery. If you were in New York City, you'd see these people and say, "Why can't they get these crackheads off the streets?" But you're out in the country, at the Renaissance Faire, and so you say, "Isn't that cute? A crackhead from the sixteenth century!"
But, of course, everyone's favorite part of the Medieval Renaissance Faire comes at the end of the day when we all the fat girls link arms and sing the Simon and Garfunkel version of "Scarborough Fair." You know the song that's just a list of herbs and spices? "Parsley, Sage, Strawberries and Wine"--something like that. Or maybe it's "Celery, Beige Berries and Lime." Anyhow, it's this song about stuff you put on food, and when they get to the end of it they're all teary-eyed.

You know what would be better, though? They should have a few of those guys dressed up in spaghetti-strap fishnet armor take their wicked lances and plunge em right directly into the fat girls' stomachs WHILE they're singing "Scarborough Fair." I think that would be more historically authentic, and it would sure make the singing sound better.

Speaking of people that should be set on fire and dropped off a ten-story building, "Maniac Cop 2" just came out, and I know this is gonna be hard to believe, but it's even BETTER than "Maniac Cop Uno." Remember that one? "You have the right to remain silent . . . forever!" About the cop that got framed and sent to Sing Sing, where twenty guys surrounded him in the shower and carved Indian totem pole designs all over his body and made him REAL mad? Well, he was supposed to be dead at the bottom of the East River with a giant steel girder through his chest. But what you didn't realize is that he SURVIVED that injury, and now he's once again roaming the streets of New York, like Jason-with-a-badge, twisting the necks off innocent people, making the cops look like serial killers--and this time he has FRIENDS. Officer Stir-Fry Face Cordell moves in with the city's most successful killer of topless dancers, a beardo geek played by Leo Rossi, and together these guys are like a couple of goofy cannibals. Cagney and Gacy.

Of course, nobody believes Cordell is really alive--EXCEPT for Laurene Landon, better known as "Hundra," better known as Christian Brando's girlfriend, who was one of the two cops in the FIRST movie who knew what Cordell was up to, along with her partner, the great Bruce Campbell, of "Evil Dead" fame. I won't tell you what happens to Laurene and Bruce this time, except it involves shrinks and chainsaws. The shrink is played by Claudia Christian--best remembered as the stripper in "The Hidden," although she keeps all her clothes on in this flick--and she's teamed up with the pock-faced Robert Davi, the greatest bad guy working today, who plays a good cop who ACTS like a bad guy, which is the same thing.

In other words, it's one of those Larry Cohen scripts that's got a whole lot of plot getting in the way of the story, but it's directed by William "Maniac" Lustig, who outdid himself in this flick. There's one high-speed motor vehicle chase scene that might be the best one ever filmed.

Thirty-one dead bodies.
Eight breasts.
Stiletto through the back.
Shotgun in the face.
Two motor vehicle chases, with five crashes.
Three guys set on fire.
Kung Fu.
Chainsaw Fu.
Convenience store Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Laurene Landon, as the cop with a chainsaw, for saying "You can't kill the dead!" and
"I have no reason to kill him--I LOVE him!";
Robert Davi, as the tough cop, for saying "I shot him before he shot me";
the great Charles Napier, as a TV host, for saying "When it comes time for your execution, you can't con Con Edison!";
Leo Rossi, as the sleazoid serial killer, for saying "You're the prettiest one in my collection so far" and
"You know, I feel like I'm a crusader against the whores of the world";
Claudia Christian, as the cop shrink, for saying "Shooting Cordell is only good for getting his attention";
William Lustig, the director, who did his usual excellent job;
Larry Cohen, the writer, for lines like "There's a piece of Cordell in every cop" and
"There's only that much difference between a cop and a MANIAC cop";
and, of course, Robert Z'dar, who does it again, as the Maniac Cop his ownself.
Four stars. Best of 91.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Republican Alert! The Starlite Drive-In in Hamilton, Mont., is face down and gasping for breath as the Forest Service makes plans to take it over for an office. It opened June 20, 1950 with "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now?" starring June Haver and Mark Stevens, and, true to its drive-in roots, closed with "American Anthem," starring Mitch Gaylord. Jerry Spangurdi reminds us that, without eternal vigilance, it can happen here. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world-famous "We Are the Weird" newsletter, write P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is 214-368-2310.

Dear Joe Bob,
Was there ever a horror movie that was so gross with the graphics that even you couldn't watch it?
Chris "Mopar" Jones
Paducah, Ky.

Dear Chris:
"Betsy's Wedding," especially the part where somebody KISSES Molly Ringwald. On the LIPS.

Dear Joe Bob,
I've heard that N.F.L. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has appointed you as the special counsel to investigate the locker room incident concerning the New England Patriots. You know, that's the big deal about a woman reporter, Lisa Olsen, who was trying to get some in-depth interviews with several of the players. She was asking some very hard-hitting questions like, "Do you guys like man-to-man defense, or would you rather play a zone?" Or how about, "Do you like the Patriot team colors?" It was during this super scooping session that six-foot-ten, 280-pound Zeke Mowatt, the tight end, decided to help Lisa out by providing her a real up-close-and-personal view of his rutabaga. And she got embarrassed! Joe Bob, what's going on here? This is the nineties. Please check this out.
Your pal,
Worm Johnston
Watsonville, Calif.

Dear Worm:
I investigated the alleged locker-room incident, and Zeke Mowatt did NOT show that woman his rutabaga. He showed her his wienerschnitzel. You see how these things get blown all out of proportion.
Evidently Lisa had never seen one.
After all, she DID try to get back in later, didn't she?

Dear Joe Bob:
Just knowing that your newsletter will be in my mailbox once a week has helped me make it through some pretty bleak times--like last Thursday, for example. I'd been sitting in my car outside Jumbo's Clown Room (topless) waiting for them to open the doors at 2 p.m., as advertised, but they didn't open until after 3.
Since I was already feeling disgruntled about my present employment situation, I was sort of "down" when I went inside. Thinking it might cheer me up, I struck up a conversation with one of the topless dancers who was cutting a week's supply of pasties out of a sheet of silver contact paper while she waited her turn onstage. Turns out she was in an even lumpier mood than me; she'd just been docked an hour's pay for being late, and a fresh tattoo on her ankle had become infected, so it hurt her to dance.
I asked her about her Texas accent and she said she'd been a regular dancer at Baby Doll's in Dallas for almost three years. I told her Joe Bob Briggs gave Baby Doll's a great review in his newsletter and her face lit up like a string of runway lights. She said that everybody at Baby Doll's knows you, and that you're a great tipper. She was still smiling as she limped onstage.
Keep up the good work.
Mondo Jenkins
Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Mondo:
That wasn't Shirley "Thighs" Sistrunk, was it? I've been looking for her ever since she learned that new act where she juggles quarters with her breasts while standing on her head.

Dear Mr. Briggs:
Joan Bechtel, the Esperanto film maker, wrote me to ask if i could forward a copy of an interview program we aired last month on Public Access Cable Television Channel 70, Programming For, By, About and In Spite of Women. It is an interview between myself and the only American member on the crew of the avant garde existential feminist Esperanto epic, "Ne Plu Pikniko," Producer/Translator Joan Birthword.

We are still receiving literally bags of mail regarding this provocative interview. There are also clips from the film that might be of interest to you. Reel Independent Women strives to provide women and the Gender-Challenged with the tools to desquamate the decaying pretense of social order, but I think, of all our programs, this segment was truly a prophylactic on the shaft of patriarchal tyranny!
I will be sending it on to you next week. May it exhume and redeem your lost Persephone!
In literate struggle!
Linda Janesdaughter
"Cinematologist for Woman Eyes"
El Cerrito, Calif.

Dear Linda:
Then again, it might be an abortion.

Hi Joe Bob,
There are several movies that I have had trouble tracking down. I have requested these movies from area T.V. stations, cable stations, area and nationwide video stores. Most of these movies, if not all, are B movies made in the 1970's, and, as a result, are not easily accessible. So far I have not had any success. What I am requesting from you is info on how to either: receive them through a cable channel, local channel, or rent/buy videos of the movies if they are available in that format. Following, then, are a listing of these movies. I would appreciate your assistance and a prompt response.
1. "Star Maidens" Parts I & II (a/k/a "Space Maidens"), starring Judy Geeson, Christiane Kruger, Pierre Brice, Norman Warwick.
2. "Magnificent Ms." (a/k/a "Superwoman, Starwoman"), starring Desiree Cousteau (Superwoman), Jennifer Welles, Jessie St. James.
3. "Ebony, Ivory and Jade" (1976)
4. "Legend of Frenchie King," starring Bridget Bardot.
5. "The New Adventures of the Original Wonder Woman," starring Lynda Carter.
6. "Future Woman" (1978), starring Shirley Eaton, Richard Wyler.
7. "Caged Fury" (or "Chained Fury")
Also, there was a short-lived TV series called "All That Glitters" in the 1970's produced by Norman Lear. It was about role reversal between men and women in a matriarchal society.
Thank you,
Nick Jaszewski
Fox Point, Wis.

Dear Nick:
I get frequent requests for information on movie titles that haven't been released on video. You have to understand, less than 10 per cent of all the movies made have been released on video, and that's because the owners of the rights, for business reasons of their own, have decided they don't want video copies on the market. Five of your seven titles are not available. We currently have a "soft" market for video releases, so a lot of producers and distributors are not releasing "B" titles.
"Ebony, Ivory and Jade" should be available from Alternative Videos, 835 Exposition Ave., Dallas, TX 75226.
"Caged Fury" is available from any video distributor. It was produced by 21st Century Films of Los Angeles.
Norman Lear doesn't release his TV programs on video, because they are very lucrative in syndication. Even the short-lived ones are expected to have some future value.
Happy searching.
1991 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved. For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at Joe Bob

There was also "Psycho Cop," not to be confused with Psycho Scarecrow or Vampire Cop (also Joe Bob reviews) or RoboCop, and the two recent unrelated "American Psycho" movies. And of course Joe Bob has a review of "Psycho 3" on the Psycho movies page itself.

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