“Psycho Cop” Pulls You Over — And Reels You In

Posted: April 22, 2013 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,


There’s a question that’s been tugging at the back of my mind lately (and, I hope, yours too) — just who the hell are they, anyway?

You know who I’m talking about — the shadowy, faceless, nameless cabal who issue pronouncements from on high intended to influence the average person’s view of, well, just about everything : they say this is a good place to eat; they feel that so-and-so’s last book was better than his new one ; they don’t care much for some artist’s latest exhibit or installation; they can’t stop talking about Mad Men (even though nobody you talk to actually seems to watch it).

Yessir, whoever they are, they  seem to have an opinion on everything. As if that weren’t bad enough, though, they also seem to have obtained a pretty solid hold on the levers of political and economic decision-making : they say that tax cuts for the rich will stimulate the economy; they believe that throwing Wall Street crooks in jail where they belong will dampen our so-called “recovery”; they tell us that we need to compromise our civil liberties in order to fight the so-called “war on terrorism” ; they have decided that the “high” salaries of teachers, cops, firefighters, and public works employees are the cause of state budget shortfalls.

But hey — maybe I’m being too hard on them. After all, maybe they deserve all this power and authority, because, as it turns out, they also have a direct pipeline into the very mysteries of creation and the universe itself, from the most momentous to the most mundane : they tell us there’s an invisible God who loves us (as long as we do what he says); they say he created everything in just six short days (of course, they don’t tell us which kind of “days” they’re talking about here — a day on Mars is different to a day on Mercury is different to a day on Neptune is different to a day on Earth); they promise us that we’ll live forever — after we’re dead (go figure that one out); they say it’s going to rain on Thursday.

No doubt about it, whoever they  are they’ve done their homework. Maybe we don’t really have much reason to be suspicious of them, even if we have no idea who they are.

The thing is, though — what if they’re wrong?


Case in point : writer/director Wallace Potts’ 1989 straight-to-video efforts Psycho Cop. Whoever they are, they don’t seem to like this one very much. They  say it’s a low-rent Maniac Cop rip-off with hammy acting, a predictable, story, no intelligence, and that it’s loaded with obvious, sophomoric humor.

Okay, so they’re right about all that. But then they go and tell us that means it’s a bad film. And that, my friends, is the point at which we need to tell them to fuck right off, because Psycho Cop is some seriously awesome shit.


Bobby Ray Shafer (or Robert R. Shafer, as he bills himself in his more recent, supposedly “respectable” work) plays Office Joe Vickers, a Satan-worshipping, homicidal nutjob who just so happens to be a duly-sworn officer of the law in some po-dunk country town. Six supposed teenagers, played by “actors” you’ve never heard of, are heading out to the sticks to booze it up and get laid. The kids cross paths with Vickers and he proceeds to torture, humiliate, and kill them all in turn, often snapping groaningly-bad one-liners along the way, such as when he rips one of the youthful good-timers’ hearts out and says “have a heart.”

This may not sound like much — and they will certainly concur with that — but I’m here to tell you that it’s a blast, and it’s all down to Shafer quite obviously having the time of his life from word “go” to word “stop.” Sometimes a movie doesn’t really need much more than a star giving it his or her all to elevate it far beyond what its means would suggest are possible — and yeah, okay, maybe that’s all Psycho Cop really has going for it — but trust me, if you think that Z-grade films come any better than this, well — maybe you’re one of them. The rest of us? We’re  just out for a good time, kinda like Shafer probably was here, and his infectious performance pretty much guarantees that our simple desires will be fulfilled.


Just to spite us, though, they have seen to it that Psycho Cop has yet to receive even a bare-bones DVD release, so if you want to see it, you’ve either gotta hunt down a tattered old VHS copy, or find it online somewhere.Fortunately, a good number of anti-authoritarian souls have, indeed, posted it for public consumption on various locales around the web, but hey —  had better leave it to you to find out exactly where, since  don’t want to get into trouble with them. Just rest assured that finding it takes a very minimal amount of effort, and you’ll be glad you did.


Still, for all the trouble they’ve  gone to in terms of bad-mouthing this flick, maybe they’re finally coming around to our way of thinking, at least after a fashion : a few days ago,   a bunch of real-life Psycho Cops in the Boston area were kicking in doors, holding innocent people at gunpoint, rifling through homes, and destroying people’s property — all to find some 19-year-old kid they think might be the same one seen in some half-assed, grainy surveillance video footage.  Once the police (“supported” by a military that’s not supposed to be operating on domestic soil) found him, slowly bleeding to death in some boat in a family’s backyard, it was decided that it would be too much effort to even bother to take five seconds to read him his rights — and they  are telling us these cops are heroes.

  1. Great review. Never saw this but did see part many a times back in the 90s on cable

    • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

      Yeah, part two is pretty fun too, but this one’s a bit better in my opinion.

      • I was never able to find the VHS or cable airings. Haven’t seen 2 since probably the mid 90s

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        Some enterprising folks have put both up as torrents on various places, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were on YouTube, but I couldn’t say for certain.

      • I’ll have to check yt. No computer it was ruined in the flood (just a few inches higher it would have been safe).

        iPads can only view certain things. I could have bought a laptop but decided to rebuild my film collection. I got an iPad so I can connect online so went for the films (would have done that anyways lol)

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        Would’ja believe I don;t even know how to use an iPad?

      • Ever use an iPhone? Basically its a bigger version just without the phone part.

        Writing can be difficult. Typos and after a while I get fed up and stop writing. So many projects on the side. As a writer getting a new laptop would have made sense, but I need my films lol.

        The one plus of an iPad is if you wanna go out and sit somewhere and work its a lot easier to take around over a laptop

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        Nope, I’ve never even used an iPhone. Stuff like that just confuses me.

      • I find it easier than a computer. Having a computer makes using the net/writing easier, but general use I find iPhone/iPad easier. Basic use of a computer is simple enough. But anything else I’m a total idiot lol

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        I can relate, I’m very technologically inept, as well.

      • Yeah lol. I’m clueless outside of getting online. When people start sending files I’m like wtf. Unless its one I click and it opens I’m lost.

        iPad isn’t as bad with that stuff but does have limitations

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        I’ve got the whole torrent thing figured out just for the sake of watching movies, but that took some time for me to grasp.

      • I never figured those out lol. Either hope for a release or its on YouTube.

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        It could be, I haven’t checked.

  2. OK, I’m sold. Good thing I know some places on the web where people put movies like this one.

    • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

      As do I, obviously — I just hate to think of them getting any unwarranted attention, so I try to leave subtle hints without naming them outright.

  3. Gary says:

    This reminds me of Cyborg Cop for some reason, a film Shitcase Cinema reviewed some time back.

  4. Ryan,
    Thank you for your kind words. Your review is a favorite of mine. You get it. And good commentary! Check out PCR. Adam Rifkin (Riff Coughan) and I ROMP. Best wishes, Bobby Ray Shafer (Police Officer Joe Vickers) “At your service.”

  5. Chris Black says:

    I love this movie. Some people out there actually think that my black leathered American bro cops lacks intelligence, which is all bullshit. I could be one of them black leathered American biker cops.
    And I ain’t stupid.

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