Maniac Cop: Nicolas Winding Refn Set for HBO Remake TV Series

Classic campy horror film franchise Maniac Cop is getting a remake series at HBO with Nicolas Winding Refn in the driver’s seat.

Maniac Cop poster; Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment

Maniac Cop, the 1988-1993 slasher film franchise, has been eyed for a remake treatment of some kind for several years, with its last attempt, a feature film, having come to a screeching halt a few years back. However, like the films’ homicidal zombified flatfoot himself, the remake endeavor has been reanimated, this time in the form of a television project at HBO!

In a fascinating resurrection and repurposing of the formerly-mooted remake film project, Nicolas Winding Refn will head a Maniac Cop remake event television series for HBO, reports Variety. Refn steps in a showrunner, and will also direct the entirety of the series alongside John Hyams (Z Nation, Black Summer), essentially reviving the would-be lineup for the 2016 remake movie attempt. Refn brings a CV of sullen thrillers such as Amazon crime miniseries Too Old to Die Young, and films like The Neon Demon, Only God Forgives, Drive, Pusher, Valhalla Rising and Bronson.

The Maniac Cop franchise – represented by a film trilogy in 1988’s Maniac Cop, 1990’s Maniac Cop 2 and 1993’s Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence – started life as a slasher about unhinged cop Matt Cordell (the late Robert Z’Dar) who, decked out in full uniform, goes on an indiscriminate killing spree. However, in a manner akin to the Friday the 13th films, the sequels didn’t let Cordell’s death stop him from returning, bringing the killer constabulary back as a hulking zombie with a gruesomely-mangled visage, still in uniform and keeping the kills coming. The first film notably co-stars Evil Dead hero Bruce Campbell as one of the protagonists tasked with tangling with Cordell.

Further Reading: 31 Best Streaming Horror TV Shows

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Refn’s Maniac Cop series will manifest as the inaugural production of his byNWR Originals shingle, which is part of his website, byNWR.com. With the project serving as partnership between Refn’s company with HBO and Canal+, the event series is set to air in North America on HBO, with Canal+ airing it in France. As Refn expresses in a statement:

“I’ve always been a devoted admirer of [co-director] John Hyams. We’ve been talking about a re-imagining of the Maniac Cop films for a number of years, but as we continued to work on the material, we found ourselves wanting to explore the world we were creating in greater depth. Turning Maniac Cop into a series will allow us to realize our wildest ambitions and to reach an enormous audience though partners HBO and Canal Plus. This show will be an unadulterated, action-packed horror odyssey. Given the current state of the world, though, Maniac Cop will also be a strong commentary on the decline of civilization.”

HBO’s Maniac Cop will also see Refn and Hyams serve as executive producers, joined in that capacity by the director of the original film series, William Lustig, along with Nick Hall, Lene Borglum, Frederic Fiore, Alex Gayner and Efe Cakarel.  Logical Pictures will head to Cannes, France’s MIPCOM 2019 (Oct. 15-19) to present the series to foreign broadcasters.

There’s no word yet on when to expect HBO’s Maniac Cop, but we will certainly keep you updated on the developments as they occur!

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.