Psycho Cop Returns (1993)
“We never expected it to be good” – Adam Rifkin concerning his Rif Coogan days.
Adam Rifkin lived the dream. He directed studio pictures (DETROIT ROCK CITY), he made personal art films (THE DARK BACKWARDS), he worked with Sam Raimi (THE NUT HOUSE), and he had a a brief side-career making direct-to-video schlock under the name Rif Coogan. Rif’s filmography includes the ‘Death by Footlong’ epic THE INVISIBLE MANIAC, the not really sequel PSYCHO COP RETURNS and a bunch of episodes of the GOOSEBUMPS rip-off BONE CHILLERS. Rifkin said he used the Riff Coogan moniker to fulfill his wish to make trashy grind house fare. It was a way way to let loose and train himself for the ‘real’ films. PSYCHO COP RETURNS was a chance to flex his film making muscles before making the big budget Charlie Sheen actioner THE CHASE.
PSYCHO COP RETURNS is a boiler plate ‘trapped in an office building and chased by a killer’ opus featuring a bunch of yuppies that are massacred by one liner spouting undead baddie played by scenery chewing Robert R. Shafer. Rifkin keps things moving, tosses in gore when things sag (unimaginative, but gleefully executed) and hits all the expected slasher beats (from a script written by the creator of Phineas and Ferb). You can feel a director and crew having fun. The stakes of tis creation are low. Everyone on the crew has to work fast. No one expects the film to be good. It’s goofy without being annoying (well, your taste may vary) and the most over the top elements (like Miles Dougal’s unhinged performance as Brian) swing for the fences. The Psycho Cop himself will either be an endless stream of corny fun for you or a nerve crushing annoyance. It’s kind of like a Jim Wynorski film turned up to eleven with a director who’s a little more imaginative behind the wheel.
The Vinegar Syndrome release is everything a PSYCHO COP RETURNS fan (all half dozen of them!) would want. It’s uncut for the first time in wide screen, has a commentary track with the director, an interview with the special effects head and FORTY THREE MINUTE DOCUMENTARY on the making of the film. It’s a literal “What else would you want?” package (Well, maybe the first PSYCHO COP, but everyone dismisses it out of hand) that cements Vinegar as the gold standard of specialty label releasing.