News: HBO Greenlights Miniseries Remake of 'Maniac Cop' by Nicolas Winding Refn

Danish provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn and Maniac Cop director William Lustig have had a steady rapport for years, going back to when Lustig first sought out Refn’s crime drama Pusher who went as far as mediating an audio commentary with Refn for the now out-of-print Anchor Bay DVD.  Subsequently in Refn’s next feature Bleeder, the director prominently featured clips from Lustig’s two features Vigilante and Maniac in two pivotal scenes.  

Which brings us to the news that HBO, probably having seen the wonderment that is Too Old to Die Young on Amazon Prime, has gone ahead and greenlit a television miniseries remake of one of Lustig’s most celebrated films: Maniac Cop.  The story of an undead cop come back to life seeking vengeance on the world featured such B-movie icons as Bruce Campbell and Robert Z’Dar and in the years since it’s 1988 release has taken on the status of a bona fide cult gem. 

Though no cast has been set yet, word on the street is that Refn will be the showrunner, directing the whole series as he did with Too Old to Die Young, with director John Hyams working alongside him.  The passion project has been one Refn has been chipping away at for years with previous plans to make it into a feature film with Hyams directing back in 2017 before it was reshaped into a series.  Promotional posters have also been aired by Wild Bunch and Canal+ for the impending French release.

As for me personally, Too Old to Die Young has been the gift that keeps on giving for 2019 and is arguably my favorite Refn work.  Sadly however, the range of the audience it reached was tragically limited, making it a strangely clandestine offering that wowed the few who waded through its 13-hour odyssey of crime and horror. 

Striking a deal with HBO, on the other hand, is a huge development for Refn’s recent foray onto the small screen and represents a most exciting turn for fans of the writer-director.  Though a remake, the program has Lustig’s full blessing and endorsement and given the two have been friends for years, this is very exciting news for horror, Lustig and Refn fans eager to see these two icons of horror and neo-noir make beautiful music together!  #byNWR all the way!

--Andrew Kotwici