2001 Maniacs

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"Frankly, Miss Pussy, I don't give a damn "

Oct 11th, 2010

I enjoy all types of horror but a weakness of mine is crappy horror. Bad dialogue, bad acting and bad special effects all together merge to make something, irresistible – that is if the balance is just right.

Every now and then I take a trip to Asda to find any hidden gems in their bargain bins. Especially around Halloween there's a whole host of horror movies on sale and a few years back I picked up 2001 maniacs, a film I have learned to love more and more on repeat viewings.

This film is actually a remake of the 1964 flick Two Thousand Maniacs! but to be honest I've never heard of that film before. Herschell Gordon Lewis directed the original – an often spouted splatter movie director but I have struggled to sit through any of his movies (they get screened constantly on Zone Horror). So this being a remake I had no pre-judgment going in.

The plot follows three different sets of commuters during spring break who follow a detour sign and end up in the small village of Pleasant Valley. Unfortunately for them the town is populated by crazy cannibalistic southerners. Oh yes the south shall rise again.

In my review for The Cottage I mentioned that crazy villagers don't get enough screen time and my desire to have a movie based around their antics. I actually forgot this movie existed and while it does revolve around a crazy town its not exactly what I meant, this town has serious issues.

The acting is terrible with characters delivering lines that have to be heard to be believed. Just read this example, but it does get extreme, on seeing an attractive female one character utters the line "I'd eat the peanuts from her shit". This appears near the beginning of the film and everything after gets worse.

The cast are all no name actors except Mayor Buckman played seriously over the top by Robert Englund. His performance is similar to all his roles since playing Freddy, but he and the rest of the cast appear to be having fun which transfers over to the screen. The women in this film are gorgeous and all shed their clothes at some point. I do like nudity in my horror.

There are two great cameos here; near the end of the film we get Kane Hodder,the best face of Jason, it's just a shame he wasn't under the mask for Freddy vs. Jason. The other appearance is Eli Roth (he produced this remake) reprising his character from Cabin Fever – it's a fun moment but actually harms the film. Immediately I was reminded of Fever, which this film is not, as well as the difference in tone, Fever had moments of comedy but was never as cartoony as this feature.

The gore is high in this one and everyone gets an interesting death. All of them are implausible but the film is clearly not going for realism so they all work in context here.

I love the music here, the instrumentals serve their purpose but a couple of village musicians play memorable songs here. Not unlike those in My Name Is Bruce but here the characters are actually part of the film's village maniacs rather than silly asides.

The southern setting of the flick works well even though we are subjected to a barrage of stereotypical images. These range from animal molestation, racial slurs and the tried and tested incestuous relationships, thank God for inbreeds.

Straight up this movie is bad but it works, the plot is none existent and serves only to get the cast killed off in more exuberant ways. One problem that doesn't work is the twist ending. Why it was added was beyond me as it adds nothing to the film. SPOILER WARNING – Apparently all the villagers are actually ghosts and the town never existed In the first place. Perhaps that's how the original ended but I didn't like it.

I really enjoyed this but I know most will hate it. This is a movie that I want people to watch, I want to hear what others think, what their favorite quotes are etc. There's a sequel being released this November straight to DVD but Robert Englund and Eli Roth are not involved. Even so I'm interested to see how that one plays out. My score is a balance between the quality of the film and my enjoyment so this one gets 6/10.

Best Kill
The razor mouth was a surprise

Trivia A Trilogy is planned depending on the sales of the second
Filmed in Westville, Georgia
The south shall rise again

Director: Tim Sullivan
Screenplay: Tim Sullivan, Chris Kobin
Release: 2005
Rating: 18
Starring: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews, Eli Roth

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