2000 Maniacs (1964)
In 1964, Two Thousand Maniacs seriously set the precedent for all backwoods/redneck/hillbilly horror films to come. The images on the VHS cover in the 80s were so bloody red that young teenagers like myself got queasy anticipating what we were about to see when we popped that tape into the VCR.
When a small bunch of northerners are detoured into Pleasant Valley, they immediately find themselves the guests of honor at a bicentennial celebration attended by a bunch of vacant-eyed, Confederate flag-waving hicks. I have to wonder how scary that would be to American’s back in 1964, especially when everyone in the film is white and straight. They all look boringly alike, no matter which side of the Mason-Dixon Line they stand on.
But there’s something interesting about the original Two Thousand Maniacs; it’s hard to tell who the good guys are. Is it the crazy backwards rednecks, or are the northerners deserving of what they get? After all, the way the maniacs get these northerners to split up to kill them off one-by-one is by waving promises of adultery in front of their faces. The northerners are portrayed as immoral ho-bags!
Still, the robotic townsfolk are really eerie when they overpower each victim. And the kills are deliciously sadistic, including a simple axe hack job, dismemberment by horse, a rock squashing, and a nail-riddled barrel roll. Pretty twisted shit for the time the film was released.
Deliciously gory, the original also has references to the Halloween holiday and a little hick kid with some really funny dialogue.
2001 Maniacs (2005)
Personally, I think 2001 Maniacs is a remake done right. Perfectly updated for modern audiences, it’s whacky, humorous, gruesome, sick, and filled with sex and pretty faces. It also realistically presents modern day characters that are a logical contrast to the stereotypical bigoted southerners. There are promiscuous kids, a black dude, a bi dude, and an Asian chick (who doesn’t look at all Asian?). Everything a good ‘ol hillbilly would want to eat for dinner.
Plus, you have an Elm Street reunion, with Robert Englund playing the patriarchal mayor and Lin Shaye playing the matriarchal “Granny.” As usual, Lin steals the show, even singing a square dancing diddy. She goes from comically crazy to frighteningly psychotic in a flash. Love her. There’s also a cameo by Eli Roth, playing the same character he did in Cabin Fever. And if you watch the deleted scenes, John Landis has a cameo in one of them.
The man flesh is great in this film, from the hunky black dude running around in something you’d see at a leather party, to the pretty boy who shows off a phenomenal little butt and a patch of pubes. There’s a gay hook-up…and then a horrendously awesome gay death. Other slaughters honor the original film, but a whole new batch of gore is also featured. There’s even sheep fucking by a kid named Hucklebilly.
The very end seems to follow that of the original, but then we get a gorehound’s twist. Which could only mean one thing. A sequel!
2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (2010)
It took 5 years, but it was worth it. 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams doesn’t try to be anything more than an exploitative piece of trash loaded with sex and gore. And I love it. A sexy bunch in an RV are filming a reality show called “Road Rascals” with a Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie pair of bimbos.
The film opens in graphic novel format, and the mayor—now recast with Bill Moseley—is narrating the back story of the town. But don’t worry. There’s no real plot here to distract us. Just over-the-top horror camp. This sequel also pays homage to one of the death scenes from the original that was left out of 2001 Maniacs.
Lin Shaye is back with a vengeance as Granny, as is the kid who plays Hucklebilly—and this time he’s fucking a stuffed sheep. Also playing a maniac is Nivek Ogre of the band Skinny Puppy!
This one has it all: lesbians, boobs, a gay boy, amazing man bodies and butts, gruesome deaths—including TWO va-jay-jay horror shows, Lin Shaye performing a cannibal song in a Flashdance homage (I really want this song in my Halloween playlist), Hucklebilly feasting on dick and balls, and…well, there’s really nothing left to say to better prove the worth of 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams. Just make sure to watch the credits through for a bonus scene.