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Film Review: Psycho Cop (1989)

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SYNOPSIS:

A group of friends partying at a rental house in the middle of nowhere is terrorized by a homicidal, Satan-worshipping police officer.

REVIEW:

When I was in high school I came home one Friday night after hanging out with some friends to find my parents watching Psycho Cop on our VCR. Neither one of them really cared for it because it was a little too goofy for them but my immature fifteen-year-old brain loved it and thought that it rocked. I watched it again over the weekend for the first time since that night and while it wasn’t nearly as awesome as I remembered it I still enjoyed it for the most part. Yes, it’s corny as hell and maybe almost a little too silly at times but overall it is a fun movie and worth seeing if you are into hokey slasher flicks.

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One of the things that I liked about it is the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It knows that it isn’t a no nonsense slasher film along the same lines as Halloween or Friday the 13th so there is some humor thrown in for good measure (usually in the form of the title character’s horribly cheesy one-liners as he is in the process of killing someone). There are some moments of pure cheese but at the same time the filmmakers were smart enough not to go overboard with things (in other words we aren’t beaten over the head with dick and fart jokes over and over again). While some viewers may not like how corny it is at times I was glad that it didn’t go out of its way to be intentionally stupid and ridiculous like similar movies I have seen in recent years. It isn’t going to go down in history as the greatest slasher flick in the history of the world and the people responsible for it were well aware of that fact while they were making it, which is part of its charm if you ask me.

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Another reason that I liked it is because the acting is bad. Actually that is an understatement as the acting is nothing short of horrible but that’s okay because it makes the film more enjoyable in general. I don’t think that there is a decent actor in the whole movie but God love them, they sure do try (even if it seems as though some of them are just reading their lines off of cue cards at times). The only one that almost comes off as believable is the killer cop himself and even he fails to deliver on a regular basis (and unfortunately many of his Freddy/Chucky-like one-liners fall pretty flat). In my opinion there are times when bad acting can actually enhance your enjoyment of a film that that is definitely the case this time around. Poor old Dan Campbell (who plays Eric) is probably the worst and I had trouble keeping a straight face every single time he attempted to read….uhhh, I mean deliver…his lines. No one in the movie may ever win an Oscar for their acting ability but that’s okay, at least they helped make this movie a fun ride due to their less than stellar skills.

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On the other hand I have to admit that I wasn’t that impressed with the death scenes that take place during the movie. Most of them seemed pretty phoned in and none of them –with the exception of the police baton through the head-were that creative or memorable (hell , some of them even take place off screen and we just see the aftermath which was a little disappointing). I don’t know if the people behind it just didn’t have a lot of money to put into the death scenes or what but I found them all to be quite lacking in a number of ways. I was really hoping for a ton of fun and original death scenes but it just wasn’t to be and I couldn’t help but feel a little let down as a result.

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I liked Psycho Cop and even though I am sure I am in the minority I think that it is superior to the very similar (though a lot more serious) film Maniac Cop (mainly because I meet someone who appeared in that film about fifteen years ago and he was less than nice to me). I think that it is just a fun little movie and if you are looking for a nice brainless slasher film that doesn’t make you think too hard then you should give this movie a shot. It actually spawned a sequel years later (which I think is actually better than the first one) so I recommend watching them both during the same night for a pretty awesome double feature.

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