- Director: Tim Sullivan
- Writer: Chris Kobin, Tim Sullivan
- Main Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Jay Gillespie
‘The south with rise…’
Misguided student road trips really are excellent horror fodder, aren’t they?! Here we have three stereotypical horny teenage boys on a road trip to Florida, until they follow a detour into Pleasant Valley (Population: 2001) where they – along with five other misled travellers – are welcomed as guests of honour at the Confederate town’s annual Guts and Glory Jubilee. The strange townsfolk ply them with food and drink, and make them feel very welcome…at first.
I was very tempted to include 2001 Maniacs in my recent Top 5 Comedy-Horrors list, but I felt the comedy aspect didn’t quite make the cut. However, I do really like it, so it gets its very own feature!
Does the idea of House of 1000 Corpses meets Deliverance meets The Wicker Man appeal to you? Then this may be the film for you! The plot is pretty simple (although there’s a slightly nonsensical plot twist at the end) but I enjoyed it for what it was – a blood and guts fest, led by Robert Englund hamming it up as the town’s mayor. There’s also some really rather inventive death scenes to enjoy, if gore is your thing. If gore isn’t your thing, then you should steer clear of this one!
In addition to Robert Englund, there’s horror-regular Lin Shaye as his wife and matriarch of the crazy town. There’s also a curious cameo from King of Gore Eli Roth early on, apparently revisiting the character he played in Cabin Fever. His appearance isn’t anything whatsoever to do with the plot as far as I can see, but was good for a giggle.
There is a sequel, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams. However – while I rarely switch off a film part way through – I must admit that I could only watch 40 minutes of that offering without giving up. It’s really pretty bad. The one positive comment I can muster is that it features the brilliant Bill Moseley, but only because they couldn’t get Robert Englund to reprise his role from the first film.
So, for a fun-filled festival of gore, that doesn’t take itself seriously, I would certainly recommend 2001 Maniacs…but maybe give the sequel a miss!