2001 Maniacs (2005)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 59%
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Connections: Two Thousand Maniacs

On their way to Spring Break, college kids take a detour through an old Southern town. The people of Pleasant Valley insist the kids stay for their annual barbecue celebration... but instead of getting a taste of the old South, the old South gets a taste of them! --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 02, 2006
Taking place in the small town of Pleasant Valley, Tim Sullivan's remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis' classic Two Thousand Maniacs! tells the tale of three groups of college students on their way from Connecticut to Florida for spring break. While en route to their beach house retreat, each group comes across the same sign in the road that simply reads "Detour" and points to a dirt road leading through the woods. After taking this detour, each of the three groups winds up in the small town of Pleasant Valley, and as we quickly find out from Mayor Buckman (Robert Englund), the town is celebrating a yearly event known as the "Guts & Glory Jubilee". What this celebration is all about isn't revealed to these poor students, but the mayor does promise free beer and BBQ... and there's plenty of attractive women standing around in skimpy clothes who look mighty interested in these outsiders. Two of those things sound decent enough, but the third (the BBQ, of course!) convinces the overwhelmingly-male group to stick around and check things out. What these Northern lads don't know, however, is that this group of Southerners are particularly bitter over the events of the Civil War, and they staged this detour / celebration thing in order to get revenge on any Northerners who happen through the town.

Two Thousand Maniacs! was the second film in Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Trilogy (Blood Feast was the first and The Wizard Of Gore was the third), and although I have yet to see the original, I can say that the two bookending films in the series are excellent pieces of splatter-cinema, so I have no reason to doubt that the second is anything less. For those of you who aren't familiar with these films, Blood Feast was the first film to show graphic on-screen violence and gore, while the second two films cashed in on Lewis' observation of how much the audiences loved it. The films didn't have any intricate storylines, and they certainly didn't feature award-winning performances from the cast; they did, however, show more blood, gore, and twisted methods of execution than one would expect from a horror film of the time (or even today, for that matter). Sullivan's remake stays true to the nature of these films, and although I'll repeat that I haven't seen the movie that this is a remake of, I will say that unless Lewis completely changed his style for one film, this remake does the original justice.

There is a storyline to be found in this movie, but it's kept extremely simple: the teens want to live and escape the town while the Southerners want to kill them. There's also a "twist" thrown in for good measure, but this twist has been spoiled in damned-near every review and description of this film, so it isn't much of a surprise when it's finally revealed (and honestly, you'll see it coming even if it wasn't spoiled for you). The storyline works out nicely and it's effective enough for this film, but the real point of the movie is indulging the audiences thirst for gore, extremely brutal killings, T&A, and a little Southern humor. Whereas the storyline part of the movie keeps things moving along and explains what you're seeing on the screen, the visuals of the film are the main selling-point and they do not disappoint.

The other thing that I enjoyed about this movie was the way that it was the complete opposite of "politically correct" in damned near every sense of the word. If you're easily offended, you'll definitely want to look elsewhere; there's derogatory humor directed at blacks, whites, Chinese, Southerners, gays, and even women in general to be found here. It's all tongue-in-cheek humor, of course; you never get the feeling that the people responsible for this film had anything against the types of characters found in this movie, but the easily offended will definitely find something to bitch about. The reason that I point this out is not to warn you readers about the potential to be offended, but instead, to point out that this type of thing can add to a movie if done correctly. In an age where you have to think carefully before referring to someones race or sexual orientation lest you offend them with the politically incorrect word of the week, it's nice to see that someone had the balls to show that we can still laugh at ourselves and at one another.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the performance of Robert Englund here. The rest of the cast is average enough; there wasn't anything to shower praise upon, but there was nothing to bitch about either (although the cameo by Eli Roth was great). Englund, on the other hand, turns in one of the best performances of his career, and yes, I have seen quite a few of the mans films. If you've ever heard of the term "chewing up the scenery" (an extreme, over-the-top performance that dominates the screen), this would not be enough to describe Englund's performance here; he basically tore up the set, grabbed a fork and knife, and dug in to the entire thing.

I can't say that this is better or worse than the original, but I can say that as a stand-alone movie, this is one of the best horror films I've seen this year. The gore will bring a tear to the eye of the gorehounds in the audience, the storyline is interesting, and horror fans in general should give this one some love. So far this year, I've handed out a grand total of two perfect ratings, and both of those films were classics that I'd just recently gotten around to reviewing. This makes number three. 10/10.
Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 04/15/2006, 10:58 AM
I just loved this movie. I really did. The humor, the gore, just perfect. I don't really care much for Robert Englund but he done a great job here. I love all the Southern characters too. All of them have their own weird distinct personality. The ending was pretty nice too and that's for the big twist and the barb wire scene. I loved it. I REALLY liked the Eli Roth cameo, it was the cherry on top. All in all, very nice. Definately one that I will soon own.
Christopher #2: Christopher - added 10/26/2006, 05:02 PM
It was all down hill after the horse decapitation. The acid bed was cool and all, but it wasn't like that girl was in the film but for two minutes and she already offs some dude. Watching Kruger act like a redneck for an hour and a half just didn't do it for me. The two thousand other hillbillies bathing in barrels and having ho-downs didn't help the situation any either. What was the deal with that kid with the slingshot? He sounded like a ten year old girl. Was it suppose to be a frightening character or what? All in all, it was watchable at best. I can go to work and see a bunch of redneck act like fools, I don't need to watch it at home.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 02/09/2007, 08:43 PM
Defiantely the greatest remake/sequal of our time. 10/10
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 04/17/2007, 12:23 PM
Are we all being serious or this some elaborate joke? "2001 Maniacs" was not a terrible film, but it was certainly not a 10/10 and certainly not a masterpiece by any definition of the word. The original was superior. The Herschell Gordon Lewis original was far better -- it was a splatterfest. It was campy and great. The new one has some good moments, but falls far short of what made the original so memorable. And, Robert Englund? Woof. Woof. 6/10.
Dametria #5: Dametria - added 04/24/2007, 12:05 PM
The whole hillbilly thing was funny as first but it gets old fast. A very run of the mill "lost teens get picked off one by one" film
danimigra #6: danimigra - added 03/15/2008, 06:29 PM
Slasher as hell..!!! 10/10
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