2019 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 12 Option 5: Psycho Cop (1989)

DAY 12. THE FRACAS AND THE FUZZ: Something revolving around cops and criminals.

How have I ended up here, watching Psycho Cop in the middle of the night? I blame the annual Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge. What started with just Maniac Cop ended with all three of those films, then I was like, well, let’s see if there were any other cop-based slashers. Bad news for me — there totally was.

Wallace Potts would not be the filmmaker I’d think would make this film. The lover and documenter of international ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, he’s probably most famous for assembling, on behalf of the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation and the Fondation Rudolf Noureev, every single bit of footage possible of the dance star. Besides that, he directed the films Demi-Gods, Tales of the Unliving and the Undead and a French adult film entitled Dude.

I hate stereotypes, but again, not who you think of when you’re looking for someone to direct a slasher about a Satanic serial killing peace officer.

The film begins with Barbra and Greg, two newlyweds that you shouldn’t bother getting to know, as they soon come across a ritualistic murder ground. Joe Vickers (Robert R. Shafer, Bob Vance from TV’s The Office) finds them and easily snuffs out both of their lives. He’s a cop who was promised a good life by God that decided to go with Satan instead. He may also  be one of the undead.

The very next day, three couples travel to a secluded mansion that comes complete with a hunky caretaker who is soon killed by Vickers. Probably the only one of these people who you may know would be Cindy Guyer, who was a romance novel cover model and once engaged to Corey Haim for eight days before he threw her from a movie vehicle. She survived. As the character Julie in this movie, she does not.

Your capacity to enjoy this movie depends on just how desperate you were for new horror movies back at the end of the 1980’s. If you were like me, you rented anything with that little green horror sticker, so a movie like this may be grating in parts, but easily flies by. If you wasted your time watching actual pieces of cinema, you are probably going to despise every single moment.

Vickers is really Gary Henley, a discharged psychiatric patient who Satan has helped to infiltrate the California Police. He’s able to shrug off point blank bullets, but not a log that impales him. However, we never get a full disclosure of his powers and also learn that he could also be Ted Warnicky, an escaped psychopathic serial killer. This is what they call a non sequitur. Don’t say that slasher movies never taught us anything — you just learned about a conversational literary device that is derived from the Latin phrase “it does not follow.”

The Psycho Cop — of course — survives. There must be more psycho patrols to perform. He’s not really all that special or memorable. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, “Psycho Cop, I watched the first Maniac Cop with Matt Cordell. I watched the second and the third. Matt Cordell was a friend of mine. Psycho Cop, you’re no Matt Cordell.”

This isn’t available on DVD as of yet. Trust me, you’re not missing anything. But hey — here’s a link to watch it on YouTube.

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