PSYCHO COP ** USA 1989 Dir: Wallace Potts 87 mins
A no-budget riff on MANIAC COP, with Bobby Ray Shafer as a wide-eyed Satanic serial killer who changed his identity to infiltrate the police force. Following brutality charges, he stalks a red convertible full of sub-FRIDAY THE 13TH denim-clad 28-year-old teenagers on vacation at a luxury woodland holiday home.
Sporting a stylish “666” hand tattoo, the insanely grinning Shafer delivers duff post-mortem one-liners (“You shouldn’t drink and drive!”) while everyone takes a l-o-n-g time to realise what the threat is, despite a radio announcer warning the public “to be on the lookout for any policeman exhibiting strange behaviour…”(!) Dumb false scares include the obligatory Creepy Caretaker entering stage-left suddenly to exclaim “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare ya!” and the porn-calibre actors struggle with dialogue like “I thought someone was watching me but it turned out to be a deer” (!!). The producers forgot to order some nudity and the kills are dispiritingly dry (death by taser / low speed car), but it has some of the most amusingly arduous slasher movie plotting of the cycle: instead of biding their pre-death screen time disrobing or fucking, these people spend it being Very Stupid. A dopey blonde risks her life by searching in the dark for her lost hairbrush, while a different airhead intensively looks for her purse (“My whole life is in there…”). The agonisingly protracted finale features a glorious moment in which the spirited Shafer is impaled by a guy lying on the ground hurling a pointy branch at relatively close range with minimal effort. It’s hard to be angry at any movie in which someone says “You’re imagining things – it was the rock music” with a straight face.
Review by Steven West