I don’t know who Rocco Karega is. I assume he’s from Colorado Springs — or at least that he lived there in 1990, which was when he got the bright idea to write, direct, and star in a little number he called Demon Cop. He never made another movie, and he’s probably bagging groceries somewhere now, but we all should be in awe of the factl that, at one point, he had the decidedly poor judgment to chase his dream and make this lower-than-lower-than-low-grade straight-to-VHS Maniac Cop cash-in quickie, because it’s really quite unlike anything else you’ll ever see.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that it’s good — you know that. Nor does it mean it’s “so bad it’s good,” a la the cinematic works of Ed Wood, Ron Ormond, Coleman Francis, or — I dunno — Steven Spielberg. Sorry, our guy Rocco lacks the earnestness and tunnel vision of these blind-to-their-own-weaknesses auteurs. Simply put, he had to know he was churning out absolute crap here, there’s just no other way of looking at this thing. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t create a piece of must-see viewing here (actually, you could fairly call it a “piece of” many other things, as well) — or, at least, he did if you’re either brave, bored, or reckless enough to be willing to gamble your perception of reality itself all for under 90 minutes of “entertainment” that is, in all honesty, anything but.
By this point you’re probably quite confused, as well you should be, but trust me when I say anything I write here won’t be nearly as baffling as is Demon Cop itself. You or I — with no experience, no money, no equipment, and no fucking clue — could hit the streets with a camera tomorrow and come up with something better than this. And therein lies this film’s mystifying power.
A slumming Cameron Mitchell turns up as a psychiatrist of some sort at the outset (and again at the end, but by then, well — just keep reading), apparently relating a “true-life case” of one of his patients, a cop who suffered from a rare blood disorder that turned him into a vaguely lycanthropic creature with a thirst for human blood. He’s talking, needless to say, about Karega himself, the titular Demon Cop this story’s ostensibly about. He’s generally offing slimeball “gang- banger” types, but the Colorado Springs PD want to catch him anyway even though some of their more hard-assed members — and many in the community at large — feel he’s doing folks a favor. There’s a quack scientist everybody ignores (of course) who’s trying to convince humankind at large about the dangers of this rare blood disorder he’s discovered that has turned a former cop into a vaguely lycanthropic creature that might just exhibit a propensity for killing slimeball “gang- banger” types, but — oh, shit, I’m repeating myself already. And quite a bit, at that.
Notice, though, I did give myself a bit of an “out” when it came to that wretchedly-worded (on purpose, your honor, I swear it!) plot recap — I said this movie was really only ostensibly about the story it presented. And if you’re watching Demon Cop for its dramatic value, trust me — you’re making a huge mistake. Not just because it has none, but because even if it did , that’s not where the real action is to be found here. Not that it has any action. Not that — oh, dear God, I really am hopelessly out of my depth here already, aren’t I?
In any case, friends what I think I’m trying to say is that this is a flick that you should be watching solely for its naked-for-all-to-see incompetence. Actors flub their lines with alarming regularity and keep going. Edits that make no logical sense become a matter of course. Poor camera angles are elevated to an accidental art form. Laugh-out-loud special makeup and creature effects (supposedly from the “creators” of Terminator 2 and Leviathan — yeah, right!) lurk around every corner, while impenetrably lousy lighting does its best to hide all the proceedings from view. Dialogue that would earn an “F” on a third-grade creative writing assignment assaults your eardrums and brain cells. And then, about an hour in, you slowly begin to realize something truly extraordinary —
Don’t ask me how it happens. Definitely don’t ask me why. Shit, don’t ask me anything at this point, because I’ve seen this thing twice and am therefore no longer qualified to comment on any subject whatsoever. What the hell am I on about here? Just this, dear readers — Demon Cop has the power to make you a dumber human being simply for subjecting yourself to it (that’s the “extraordinary” thing I was talking about — whoops, you probably had that figured out already, I shouldn’t assume that everyone — or even anyone — reading this review is nearly as stupid as I am at this point).
Call that what you will — unintentional genius? Nah. There’s nothing within even remote sniffing distance of “genius” going on here. The universe exacting karmic revenge on those lacking the good sense to turn this thing off within the first ten minutes? Possibly — we certainly deserve to be punished on some level. Occult power? Absolutely — Demon Cop is a full frontal assault on all things competent, and a relentless one at that, and that definitely qualifies it as a magickal working of some sort in my book.
So let’s go with that, shall we? Let’s give Karega and producer Hal Miles the credit (such as it is) they’ve earned — this is a singular piece of rancid celluloid garbage so profound that it taps into the very forces of creation itself and causes them to revolt against our entire species in disgust. After all, no life form capable of creating the likes of Demon Cop can survive for long — nor, frankly, does it (and by “it” I mean “we”) deserve to. The die has been cast. We’ve gone too fucking far. We’re doomed. And it’s all Rocco Karega’s fault.
Fortunately, no other members of our fallen lot have ever been foolish enough to release Demon Cop on DVD, apart from a Region 2 bootleg that’s floating around out there somewhere. Some careless souls, however, have uploaded it on various locations around the internet. I’ll let you figure out exactly where for yourself, since I have no desire to be an accomplice in your spiritual and mental demise. Just know that if and when you do find it, you’ll never be the same. You’ll have crossed a threshold you immediately know, in your heart, you never should have. If you still possess any faith in your fellow man, please — I beg you! — leave this thing alone. Quit reading my shell-shocked ramblings right now and forget you ever heard about Demon Cop. But if you absolutely must play with fire — if you’re willing to play a kind of warped Russian roulette where your very sanity is at stake — well, I’ll see you, here, on the other side of madness.