Maniac Cop will be back on the street — but not like audiences have seen before. Filmmaker John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Regeneration) has told the Movie Crypt podcast that his upcoming remake of the 1988 exploitation classic will be “a completely different thing tonally” from the original.
Deadline Hollywood reported back in 2016 that Hyams was set to direct a new version of the homicidal-policeman story, which would be produced by Nicolas Wending Refn’s Space Rocket Nation company and written by Ed Brubaker (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Then last year, Larry Cohen, the writer of the original film, told Birth Movies Death that the remake was “not getting made.” But according to Hyams, the new Maniac Cop remains a go project.
The 1988 film was directed by Bill Lustig and starred Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Z’Dar, the latter of whom portrayed the titular killer. The movie spawned two sequels, 1990’s Maniac Cop 2 and 1993’s Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence.
“It will be a completely different thing tonally,” Hyams told Movie Crypt hosts Adam Green and Joe Lynch on the most recent episode of the podcast. “I think that’s why I was hired. I think the reason why Nick was interested in me was because he saw what I had done with Universal Soldier, in the sense that I took it and made it my own and went completely off the reservation with it. Nick Refn loves exploitation cinema as much as the next guy, but he also is not interested in paying homage to things. He loves Maniac Cop, he loves the idea of it, he loves everything it represents, but he has no intention of making a tribute story.”
Hyams continued, “We’ve spent the last several years now developing this thing and… what we’re trying to do is make something that we’re taking the ideas of Maniac Cop and exploring then in a deep way.… Our hope is that this is something that people who are fans of the original will find great pleasure in what we’re doing, because if you’re into genre storytelling you’re going to be into it, but I also think we’re telling a story about something bigger than that, which is really the breakdown of society.… It’s a big story that needed a larger canvas.”
Watch the trailer for the original Maniac Cop above.