Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BLU-RAY BATTLE! Maniac Cop vs. Maniac Cop

BLU-RAY BATTLE is my attempt to guide genre film fans towards the most complete and proper presentations of our favorite films through comparison of special features and specs. I'll make my decision known and why but take a look at what each release offers and make your own decision based on what's important to you as a buyer. Some go for the commentaries and 5.1, others may take a shine to interviews and artwork. I'm just thankful for region-FREE Blu-rays and the fact that there are niche labels the world around competing for our hard earned dollars because choice is a very good thing.

The third installment of the BLU-RAY BATTLE series once again pits US genre film distributor SYNAPSE FILMS against their venerable UK counterpart ARROW VIDEO. In question are their region FREE Blu-ray editions of William Lustig's MANIAC COP starring Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Robert Z'Dar and Lauren Landon. Let's break 'em down...

VS.


MANIAC COP (1989)
DIRECTOR: William Lustig
CAST: Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Robert Z'Dar, Lauren Landon, Richard Roundtree, Wiliam Smith
TAGLINE: You Have The Right To Remain Silent... Forever.

SYNOPSIS: In William Lustig's MANIAC COP a seven-foot tall disgraced cop named Cordell (Robert Z-Dar, TANGO AND CASH) has seemingly returned from the grave and is stalking the streets of New York City slaying not criminals but innocent folks which sets off a wave of panic and paranoia as everyday citizen's grow to fear the very men sworn to protect them.
 
IN THIS CORNER....
MANIAC COP [Synapse Films]

REGION: Region FREE
RATING: R
DURATION: 85 mins
VIDEO: MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 16x9 Widescreen (1.85:1)
AUDIO: English: 6.1 DTS-HD MA, 4.0 DTS-HD MA, 2.0 DTS-HD MA

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Maniac Cop Memories - Interview with Robert Z'Dar (12:12) 16x9 HD
- Out the Window - Interview with Tom Atkins (10:56) 16x9 HD
- Three Minutes with Danny Hicks Featurette (3:32) 16x9 HD
- Motion Still Gallery (3:07) HD
- French Theatrical Trailer (1:23) 16x9
- TV Spots (3:55) 4x3
- Additional Scenes Filmed for Japanese Television (5:43) 4x3
- Spanish Radio Spot (:31)
 
AND IN THIS CORNER....
MANIAC COP [Arrow Video]

RELEASE DATE: October 31st 2011
REGION CODE: Region FREE
RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 85 mins
VIDEO: MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 16x9 Widescreen (1.85:1)
AUDIO: English DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo

SPECIAL FEATURES
- Exclusive UK introduction to the film from star Tom Atkins
- Doomed Detective: Tom Atkins on Maniac Cop
- Lady of the Night: Laurene Landon remembers Maniac Cop
- Scripting a new Slasher Super-Villain: Larry Cohen on Matt Cordell
- Trailer

- Reversible sleeve with original and new artwork by Rick Melton
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Troy Howarth and The Original Maniac: An interview with William Lustig, adapted from Calum Waddell's book Taboo Breakers

SYNAPSE FILMS: Synapse's disc offers the film in 16:9 widescreen 1080p with DTS-HD MA 2.0, 4.0 and 5.1. Interviews with actor Robert Z'Dar, Tom Atkins and Danny Hicks, plus trailers, TV spots and additional scenes filmed for Japanese TV.

ARROW VIDEO: Arrow's presentation likewise is 16:9 widescreen 1080p and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix without the benefit of a surround sound option. The disc also features and introduction and interview with Tom Atkins, Lauren Landon and Larry Cohen, a trailer, collector's booklet, poster and reversible artwork.

VERDICT: With Synapse's BD lacking the group commentary from their DVD release I have to say this is a pretty even match, both featuring interviews with actor Tom Atkins (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS). Arrow's has no Robert Z'Dar interview but does get writer Larry Cohen to comment on the film. So who's the winner here? Well you are, two competing high definition, region-free BD's of MANIAC COP is a win-win in my opinion, but the decision goes to Arrow Video who while lacking a 5.1 surround option come through with collectible packaging with reversible artwork plus a booklet featuring a William Lustig interview. If the Synapse commentary had been included I think I would have leaned the other way but as it is I'm swinging once again toward the UK title, largely because I'm a sucker for packaging and reversible artwork and Arrow are masters of ephemeral. The 5.1 surround really makes a strong argument for the Synapse disc and if they'd been able to port over the commentary I surely would have swung the other way but as it is they're so evenly matched in regard to features Arrow won me over with the packaging. Keep in mind I have not seen the Arrow transfer of the film and my decision is based on specs and special features and not picture qaulity. I received a screener of the Synapse Blu-ray of MANIAC COP and reviewed it HERE and the transfer is pretty spectacular.

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