Fair warning — Bill Lustig is a personal hero.
The work Lustig has done in the arena of film preservation and presentation with his company Blue Underground (whose output has sadly slowed down to a halt recently) is top tier stuff, bringing us amazing exploitation gems that would otherwise be lost forever. It also helps that he’s made a slew of bonafide classics (fuck that condescending “cult classic” bullshit) such as Vigilante, Maniac, Relentless and, of course, the Maniac Cop films. I got to meet the big man from 42nd Street a few years back (at a 35mm screening of Maniac, after which he gave one of the best Q&As I’ve ever witnessed) and was literally shaking with excitement to get my Vigilante blu-ray signed — to the point that wife actually had to do the talking for me because I was so nervous. That’s just who I am. If Tom Hanks were to start talking to me, I’d play it completely cool. But Bill Lustig? That man’s a goddamn knee-clack-inducing legend.
All of this is a long-winded intro to the news that Maniac Cop (yes, the Larry Cohen/Robert Z’Dar collabo.) is being remade. Now, most people would be mad that one of their heroes’ best films is being redone for a new audience. But when you tell me that Lustig himself is producing, along with modern exploitation auteur Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives, Valhalla Rising), my eyes light up like stars. Now they’ve added none other than Ed Brubaker (Captain America: the Winter Solider) to script the redux, and I am literally counting the days until I can watch it.
The original film – which I HOPE you have seen (and if you haven’t we’re no longer buddies) – is a subversive, grindhouse masterpiece revolving around a serial killer stalking New York dressed like a cop. To be honest, the one place the first film will be impossible to beat is in the casting department, as it sported turns from manly men Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins (not to mention Z’Dar as the titular maniac). So, basically, they need to cast every badass male in modern Hollywood to replicate even half the raw, mustached masculinity the original floated on.
No word on who is directing as of yet, but Devin Faraci over at BAD says that Brubaker assured him via Twitter that he was “going to love the choice” that’s being announced at the Cannes Film Fest. Astute horror fans will note that Lustig co-produced the Elijah Wood-starring Maniac remake directed by Alexandre Aja protege Franck Khalfoun. While certainly imperfect, that film emphasized putting a new spin on an existing property (the film was shot almost entirely in slasher-style POV), with a final twenty minutes and ROB score that was truly harrowing. Here’s hoping Brubaker, Refn and Lustig can come up with another take that cements the Manaic Cop as being a new icon for this generation of horror fans.
Source: Screen Daily