Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
Watched June 1, 2009
Six tourists are the guests of honor at Pleasant Valley's centennial, but little do they know, the guests of honor aren't going to be leaving.
The death scenes are great, and the rest isn't that great. It's better than "Blood Feast" though.
I'm still quite surprised that TCM would play "Blood Feast" and "Two Thousand Maniacs!", when they're supposed to be playing classic movies. I guess "Blood Feast" could be considered a classic, as it spawned an entire genre of splatter films, but "2000 Maniacs" was just Herschell Gordon Lewis' next film. I guess I shouldn't be complaining, though, as it gave me the opportunity to see some of the first gore films.
And "2000 Maniacs!" is much improved from Lewis' last effort. "Blood Feast" was mostly awful, and its semi-remake "Blood Diner" is leaps and bounds better in my opinion. Man, I love "Blood Diner". Anyways, back to "2000 Maniacs!".
The only reason most people are going to watch this film is to see the death scenes, I think. And for good reason, as that's the only good thing about the film. The characters aren't interesting, the plot is stupid and sometimes confusing, and there's a reason you've probably never heard of any of the actors (although the acting is much improved from "Blood Feast").
But, the gore is pretty good. Sure, it's not as professional as gore flicks these days, but what can you expect from 1964? They did the best they could and overall, the gore's pretty good. It also helps that the kills are pretty inventive. The barrel roll is just pretty freaking awesome, in my opinion. Best kill by far. You also get limbs dismembered in various ways and an especially fun but over drawn-out "lady being crushed by giant rock" scene. But, don't expect to actually see the acts happening. For the boulder scene, you basically just see the girl after she gets crushed. I was hoping for you to actually see the girl get demolished, a la "Final Destination 2" with the pigeon scene. But, nay. You just see the after-effects. But, again, it's 1964. They didn't have experience with gore gags just yet.
I'm not quite sure I understand the plot though. Apparently, every 100 years, a town just reforms itself for a couple of days so it can exact revenge on some Yankees, and then just disappears again for the next 100 years. What? Why? I'm confused. But, honestly, I just don't think plot was a huge concern to Lewis and friends.
Plus, there's this damn little kid that's pretty much the most annoying little piece of shit ever. "Darn I want candy", "I want my candy", "75 miles an hour?". I was hoping someone would crush him with a boulder so he'd shut the fuck up. The actor that played this little kid never again had an acting role, which doesn't surprise me, as he's awful.
"YEE-HAW! The south's gonna rise again!"
Man, I never again want to hear that song in my life. Even the banjo can't save that annoying-as-hell tune that they feel the need to play for about 10 minutes in the movie. Soooo fucking annoying.
Okay, I've said all I have to say about "2000 Maniacs!". If you're looking to see how the splatter genre started, by all means, go back and revisit "2000 Maniacs" and "Blood Feast", especially "Blood Feast" as that's technically the more culturally significant film. Yeah, it's awful and inept in almost every way, but it's culturally significant. If you're looking for Oscar-worthy performances and plot twists that will blow your mind, get away from "Two Thousand Maniacs!". Get as far away as you possibly can. However, if you're looking for a fun time and some early gore, than rent it or whatever. I give "2000 Maniacs":
3 out of 5 chainsaws (AVERAGE)