And one for good luck
Sometimes you just can't resist the DVDcover. Just look at that picture. Robert Englund, dressed old-timey clothes, wearing a Confederate flag eye patch. The movie could have just been Robert Englund standing around dressed like that and I would have been entertained. What? I have to actually watch the movie? Pssh, fine. Whatever. I guess we can't just a book by it's cover and you can't just a movie by it's artwork, so I'll just have to continue with the review.
2001 Maniacs tells the story of six college kids, lead by Anderson Lee (Jay Gilespie, Hellraiser: Revelations) headed towards Daytona Beach for spring break. They get lost on the back-roads of Georgia and end up in the small town of Pleasant Valley. They are greeted by Mayor George W. Buckman (Robert Englund) and welcomed to the towns annual “Guts and Glory Jubilee” which honors the Civil War. The group is soon joined by travelers Malcolm and Leah. They all enjoy themselves at the jubilee and decide to stay. Not all is as nice as it seems. The travelers are killed off one by one in gruesome fashion. It turns out 2001 Confederate villagers were massacred 140 years ago in Pleasant Valley by Union soldiers. The spirits of the town's residents have vowed to not rest until 2001 Yankees have been killed. Will Anderson be able to survive or will the South rise again?
1...2...Mayor Buckman is coming for you...
2001 Maniacs is actually a remake of the 1964 film “Two Thousand Maniacs!” by Herschell Gordon Lewis. This movie is a bit of a mess. It can't decide if it wants to be a sadistic family muder-spree ala Texas Chainsaw Massacre or some demonic supernatural horror movie. We see one villager with some weird vein action and razor-sharp monster teeth, but no one else has that. Can they all do that and if they can, why don't we see it? The screenplay is all over the place and some of the dialogue is downright terrible. One character in particular named, and I am not making this up, Hucklebilly, is so incredibly annoying that I wanted to smash my laptop in order to make him go away. My apologies to the actor, Ryan Fleming, but his voice was like a pitchfork scraping on my brain. I only hope he was doing it for the movie and it isn't his real voice.
That being said, there were so good points to the movie with some portions being entertaining as hell. Unsurprisingly, Robert Englund is awesome. He's not quite as over-the-top as Freddy Krueger, but Mayor Buckman could be a Southern relative. Guiseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever, Detroit Rock City), who plays local Southern gentleman Harper Andrews also does a fantastic job of being both charming and creepy. The two town minstrels are quite funny as they go around singing what is happening throughout the movie. There is also a ton of blood and guts throughout the movie with some very violent death scenes. The final battle between Mayor Buckman and Harper is actually pretty entertaining, far better than what the rest of the movie put forth.
Georgia's state flag
2001 Maniacs is a mediocre story with a bad screenplay and lots of plot holes. It suffers from not knowing exactly what type of horror movie it wants to be. There are some genuinely funny moments, but plenty of eye-rolling as well. Robert Englund is his usual wonderful self and the movie is worth watching just for him. Beyond some bloody ultraviolence, I'm not really sure what else 2001 Maniacs has to offer.