Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cop Killers

Walter Cichy, an associate producer of FLESH GORDON who also worked on that 1974 sci-fi spoof’s visual effects, wrote and directed this trashy crime drama. The actor who played Flesh Gordon, Jason Williams, also stars here as Ray, one-half of the titular antagonists, along with Bill Osco, who also produced both FLESH and COP KILLERS, as Alex.

These two yahoos, accompanied by a Rolls Royce and an inexplicable soft rock soundtrack, encounter the Border Patrol while smuggling four kilos of cocaine from Mexico. Despite being outnumbered, outgunned, and outtrained, Ray and Alex manage to kill all the cops and continue their journey. Their crime spree goes on to include carjacking an ice cream truck and abducting a young woman named Karen (Diane Keller).

Sleazy and violent COP KILLERS may be, but well-acted it definitely is not. Osco (later to star in his director wife Jackie Kong’s THE BEING) and Williams are plenty woeful, but the squeaky-voiced performer playing the irritating ice cream man is so pathetic that you’ll cheer for the villains to rub him out. The bad acting, working in concert with the slack pacing and numb screenplay, makes it impossible to generate any suspense. Why do these guys, on their way to collect $100,000 from drug dealers, stop to rob $33 from a gas station?

COP KILLERS may be one of the most obscure films ever to receive a deluxe DVD treatment. Shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm for its drive-in engagements, COP KILLERS may not have played very much, if at all, on television and was certainly forgotten by almost everyone except those who made it. Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough, but COP KILLERS is just rough. Eegee’s, the proprietor of the ice cream truck Ray and Alex steal, is a real business still active in Tucson, Arizona, where COP KILLERS was filmed. Rick Baker provided the gory makeup. General National Enterprises released it in 1977.

I can’t say that COP KILLERS is all that deserving of a nice DVD, but Shriek Show did a pretty nice job with it. The key extra is the audio commentary track featuring Williams and a moderator calling himself Adam Trash. It’s a good thing Williams is an animated speaker with a good memory, because Trash is a hesitant, uninformed moderator who fails to ask Williams the most obvious questions and relies on the actor to initiate discussion points. Williams tells us that COP KILLERS was shot in 12 days for $50,000 by porn filmmakers looking for a quick buck until FLESH GORDON’s release. He’s also a good sport about the film’s technical deficiencies, pointing out the occasional visible microphones and an amazing shot of the soundman sitting in the backseat of a car driven by the stars.

Williams also pops up on camera for an interview that hits the points not touched upon during the commentary. A ridiculous image gallery features a whopping two (!) images, neither of them all that interesting, and a trailer collection features not just the spot for COP KILLERS, but also several other drive-in flicks on DVD, including GRIZZLY and Bill Osco’s THE BEING.


raculfright_13 said...

This is one I've always wanted to see!

Paul Brazill said...

can't rmemeber it, though I remember Flesh Gordon being on at the local cinema. Good call.