After the first “Psycho Cop”, which was a success pretty much solely based on the participation of Bobby Joe Shafer as the titular fellow, the producers and star decided to find a new writer / director (Adam Rifkin, who also directed “Detroit Rock City” a few years later) and have some fun. So, we get a straight comedy, just one with tons of gore in it, all the things that made the first film good and none of the stuff that bored you to tears.
The setup for this one is – there’s going to be a bachelor party in an office building, after all the non-cool people have gone home for the night. This leaves Lawrence, Michael, Brian and Gary, one of them’s getting married but you don’t care which of the dumb male cannon fodder it is and neither do I. At breakfast one morning, two of the office bros are discussing this, including the weed and booze they’re going to have there, and sat a couple of chairs down is the one, the only, Psycho Cop!
You might remember from the first movie, that our friend got a rather blunt wooden stick thrown through his chest by one of the survivors of his first rampage; but of course his eyes popped open at the end, and he seems legitimately to be Satan-powered, so of course you know you can’t keep a good man down. After some mild recovery, it would appear he’s just been sat around for a few years waiting for someone to admit to a crime in front of him; but he’s good to go immediately. I mean, it’s pretty foolish to discuss smoking weed in front of any police officer, but when he’s an undead psychotic Satanist, that’s just rotten luck.
One small point: Joe’s number plate has 666 on it, because of course, but I’m going to guess the DMV won’t issue a plate with that number on it, so the one they have is a 999 number plate, turned upside down. Nice try guys! But the opening credits, where you see all the Satanic symbols (done in blood, obviously) and body parts (as if he’s very absent-minded after killing and butchering people) laid about his car, is amazing.
So, the majority of the movie is set in the office building. We get a good twenty minutes of sitcom-style shenanigans as the party is organised under the nose of unsuspecting boss Mr Stonecipher; as Brian tries to hit on office hottie Sharon; and as a couple commit some adultery in the copy room. It’s well-filmed, everyone’s given some fun lines, and it’s immediately apparent you’re in better hands than you were the first time.
Joining them a little later are a group of strippers, but they’re either the world’s friendliest strippers or they’re really prostitutes who dance a little, as they’re all over the four men from the moment they’re snuck past Gus the security guard. One of them is Julie Strain, who we’re becoming pretty familiar with. I thought it might be the beginning of her career, as she only gets a few lines, but it turns out we’ve already reviewed the earlier “Witchcraft 4”. Damn, that was a terrible one! The other two strippers are also decent actors, Melanie Good and Maureen Flaherty, so it’s all thumbs up so far.
Okay, the stripping section isn’t a million miles from soft porn, with almost naked women grinding on the guys and each other, but…it’s short, I guess? And they seem happy to be doing it all? I know.
So, once again, Officer Joe is the world’s best planner, setting up everything so he can offer up the office workers to Satan, even the ones who don’t seem to have done anything wrong. Although the cannon fodder don’t help by wandering off on their own, or going to the helicopter pad to have sex – to be fair, the helicopter pad scene is hilarious, so I shouldn’t complain. The bits where Joe starts faxing pictures of his victims to the survivors, who just assume it’s a prank, are damned funny too.
Ultimately, it’s a spree killer movie where you’re 100% cheering for the killer, not because the people are assholes, but because he’s amazing. Shafer is perfect for the role, knowing that people turned up for his quips and giving them to us with complete commitment. I’ll let his mini-monologue on the helicopter pad speak for itself (said after he’s shot a guy in the head and thrown a woman off the roof):
You have the right to remain dead. Anything you say can and will be considered very strange because you’re dead. You have the right to an attorney, but it won’t do you any good because you’re dead. Do you understand these rights that have just been read to you? Are you even listening? It would be a lot easier if you were a little more cooperative!
When he confronts the remaining survivors, and tries to pretend to be a normal cop for a few minutes, but is so crazy he can’t quite manage it and doesn’t care, could have been terrible in the hands of a worse actor, but it’s my favourite scene in the movie. People get hacked up and shot in the head and it’s entertaining from beginning to end.
But wait! It’s not perfect, quite. There is a Final Girl, as is standard in these things, but she’s introduced weirdly, as she’s completely incidental to the first half and only really steps up when she joins the rest of the cast. I would assume a scene which introduces her got cut, because otherwise it makes no sense to have her in that role. I was sort of expecting it to be Julie Strain until she met her end too, so be prepared for this to sort of stick to the horror rules, then sort of ignore them. The ending, apparently a parody of the Rodney King beating (look it up and be horrified, younger readers) is a bit weird too, but I imagine it would’ve been a lot more shocking at the time.
Other than that, I have no trouble calling this vastly superior to the original (a trait it shares with “Maniac Cop 2” – oh, for a crossover between those two franchises!) and, considering it’s on Youtube, should be watched by you all immediately. Funny, clever, and extremely violent – the ISCFC trifecta!
Rating: thumbs up