DVD Release Date: July
= Highest Rating
by a porn director and financed by the makers
of the notorious Flesh Gordon
(who had the idea of quickly cranking out an R-rated
drive-in exploitationer to raise cash for that
film), Cop Killers
is notable only for the participation of future
Oscar-winning makeup effects wizard Rick Baker
this was his second professional movie gig.
It's an ultra-low budget attempt at a violent
"road killer" flick, sabotaged by poor
acting, lame dialog and clumsily staged shoot-outs.
Only a handful of scenes are unintentionally funny
in their ineptitude, so even cheese lovers will
find their patience tested well before the drawn-out,
long-haired punks Ray (Flesh
Jason Williams) and Alex (The
Being's Bill Osco) hope to score big off the
cocaine they've bought on the cheap in Mexico.
After picking up the goods at a desert rendezvous
a small plane swoops
down and snags the money satchel using a grappling
hook, then circles back and drops the dope
the boys head for the Arizona border. Alex freaks
out when they're stopped by a Border Patrol roadblock,
but Ray refuses to surrender; he'd rather go out
with guns blazing than be sent to prison. Fortunately
for our coke-smuggling duo the officers are worse
shots than Stevie Wonder, missing at pointblank
range with pistols and shotguns. Armed only with
revolvers, Ray and Alex manage to pick off the
lawmen one by one, with Ray relishing the chance
to administer a less-than-merciful coup de
grâce to a helpless wounded cop. Alex, in
contrast, is shaken up by the experience but can't
really argue with the fact that they've gotten
away with it. They cross the border and head for
the nearest town, keen to dump the car for a new
set of less conspicuous wheels.
they hijack an ice cream truck (!), taking the
pitifully whiny driver (James Nite) along for
the ride... until Ray gets sick of his pathetic
bleatings and tosses him from the vehicle to his
death. (No sympathy from the audience here
the victim is so annoying that you'll actually
cheer his demise!) On to the next town and another
change of transport. While robbing a gas station
Ray nonchalantly guns down the attendant and a
customer. The haul: $33. ("Those dudes
died cheap.") He and Alex acquire a new
car, complete with hostage, an attractive young
woman named Karen (Diane Keller) whom Ray gleefully
threatens with sexual assault. They still have
a long way to go to reach their destination, the
secluded farmhouse of a well-connected hippy promising
a hundred grand for their cargo of blow. This
means a layover at a motel and the chance for
Ray to further indulge his homicidal tendencies.
The mild-mannered, relatively nonviolent Alex
(he only killed after being fired on) finds himself
falling for Karen; his continual intervention
on her behalf opens a rift with his increasingly
sadistic partner. Ray makes it plain that once
the coke deal goes down, Karen must die
no ifs, ands or buts. She knows too much. Will
Alex find the cajones to stand up to Ray
and save her life?
end, I really just didn't give a shit.
bad, yeah, and unfortunately for the most part
not in a good way. We spend 93 minutes with two
guys who aren't just unlikable (we're not supposed
to like 'em, after all), but worse
they're boring. Williams' Ray is just your typical
psycho-sadist, the kind played much more interestingly
by the likes of David Hess (Last
House on the Left, Hitch-Hike).
He isn't helped by the insipid script, which provides
no hint as to why the character is such a murderous
actor Osco (a member of the family that owns the
national drugstore chain and the film's producer)
is asked to do significantly more emoting than
he's capable of in the role of Alex. As
Karen, the hostage who eventually snorts cocaine
and sleeps with Alex (not just to stay alive,
but because she wants to), Keller at least tries.
Everyone else in
the cast makes the Ed Wood troupe look like a
they're either community theater rejects or pulled-off-the-street
amateurs. The über-whiny ice cream man has
to be seen to be believed... and you still
won't believe it.
choice moments of humorously awkward 'acting'
and wretched dialog are really about all Cop
Killers has to offer. Let's see... There's
the ice cream guy; Ray reciting racy passages
from Karen's romance novel to embarrass
her (as he contemplates rape); the 'how to snort
the horny stoner chicks at the farmhouse... That's
about it, and it ain't enough. Baker's
makeup effects consist of your standard face mangling,
arterial spurts, and Peckinpah-style blood squibs.
There are lots of dull, dusty scenes of cars driving
along desert roads and highways. Sparse instances
of gunplay are totally botched; the opening and
closing shoot-outs are ineptly shot and edited.
A (mostly) inappropriately bouncy music score
makes things worse with the inclusion of a horrible
AM Gold-wannabe pop song.
liked this film a lot more had it been Ice
Cream Truck Driver Killers... In it, Alex
and Ray could kidnap one super-annoying popsicle
jockey after another. And kill them. Mercilessly.
This movie isn't ever going to look sterling.
Filmed on a shoestring budget, Cop
Killers was shot in 16mm and blown up to
35mm for what limited theatrical distribution
it received. Naturally, Shriek Show's DVD presentation
features omnipresent grain. Print damage, while
relatively minor, is near-constant and colors
appear somewhat washed out as well. Still, for
what it is a cheapjack drive-in quickie that
virtually no one's ever heard of the DVD transfer
(1.78:1 AR, 16x9 enhanced) is certainly watchable.
(Quite frankly, no company would be expected to
shell out any dough for a restoration job on a
title like this.) The mono audio track is pretty
much par for the course, flat but serviceable.
a 15-minute interview featurette entitled Confessions
of a Cop Killer, star Jason Williams looks
back on the beginnings of his acting career and
his involvement in both this film and Flesh
Gordon, concluding the piece with a passionate
argument for the decriminalization of illegal
drugs. Williams provides additional details and
minutiae about Cop Killers
(shot on location in rural Arizona) in the course
of a fairly interesting audio commentary, moderated
by one "Adam Trash". A laughably small
photo gallery (two images!) and a slate of Shriek
Show trailers, including one for the feature,
cap off the disc. 6/29/06