Friday, August 14, 2009

#79 - 2000 Maniacs

Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

Written and Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Plot: A bunch of Yanks travelling from point A to point B down south somewhere get misdirected by an incorrect road sign and end up in a friendly little town called Pleasant Valley where everyone seems just a little too pleased about their arrival. They quickly realize that everyone in the town was massacred by Union soldiers one hundred years ago and they’re still pissed off about it.

Review: I fucking love this movie. It’s kind of stupid, but is actually fairly well done and surprisingly coherent considering that it’s an H.G. Lewis flick (if you don’t know who that is… well, whatever). And the theme song, ‘Yee Haw, the South’s Gonna Rise Again!’ (written and performed by H.G. Lewis) is really awesome. Not that, you know, the theme song should impact the movie that much... for example, my favourite Bond flicks are probably like Dr. No (no song), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (?), that one with Timothy Dalton (again, ?) and Goldeneye (shitty song). My favourite Bond songs are "The World is Not Enough" (mediocre movie), "Die Another Day" (sub-mediocre movie), "Goldfinger" (retarded movie) and... uh... I dunno, "Moonraker".

But anyway, this is one of those movies which should by all rights be terrible, but still manages to win, though no one can really say how. It follows the recipe for suck to the letter and yet is awesome. And, though I really dig Blood Feast, this is probably the best Lewis flick I’ve seen so far (although I have yet to see The Gore-Gore Girls, Colour Me Blood Red, She-Devils on Wheels and many of his other interestingly titled films, so I’m probably not allowed to have an opinion).

This film is basically the same as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only without any of the artistic talent and maybe a lower budget if such a thing is possible (actually, it’s probably just that Tobe Hooper is better at using what he’s got).

Overall, the movie is great fun, with people getting barbequed, drawn and quartered, stuffed into barrels full of nails and rolled down hills. One woman, possibly the stupidest character in horror film history, gets a giant rock dropped on her. She so could have escaped from that. Everything’s an excuse to show gratuitous amounts of blood and gore.

And hell, that’s what it’s all about, man. Really. Yeah, sure, atmosphere and lighting and mood are one thing, but excessive gore has its place.

No, this movie wasn’t even remotely near scary, but what the fuck, a person gets fucking barbequed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, many, many times fuckin a. The flick is totally on crack in a good way and never even tries to take itself the least bit seriously. It’s just fun.

Favourite Part: People get killed in so many cool ways in this movie, but overall my favourite would have to be ‘The Rock Drop’. It’s just so stupid. Honest to God, when they were trying to think of cool ways to kill people, why was this even considered? It’s so lame it comes around the other side and becomes awesome. That’s why this movie is the pinnacle of Western culture. Basically, woman is told to lie underneath big rock and watch it fall or something, and she just lies there while they drop it on her. Quite amusing.

Other versions: Remade as 2001 Maniacs which I have yet to see. It's got Robert Englund in it.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (July 3rd, 2008).

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