Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)

FEBRUARY 19, 2007


I’ve heard about it for years, but until now I have never seen Two Thousand Maniacs!, which is legendary low budget splatter maven Herschell Gordon Lewis’ most famous film (it’s even been remade!). To me, it just sounded like something that would grow tiresome, not to mention feel incredibly dated.

And I was right! The kill scenes are fun (love the barrel roll) and some of the music is enjoyable, but otherwise it’s a snoozefest. Horrible actors playing southerners that drink moonshine and wave the confederate flag make up the bulk of the film. There’s very little excitement to any of it, even when our two leads make their escape attempt (which includes tricking a little kid who spends almost all of his screen-time throwing a tantrum – I wanted to kill the little shit after 30 seconds).

But what really sinks the movie is how fucking STUPID the characters are. It’s one thing for the redneck guys to be slow, but why are the out of town “city folk” so gullible as to climb inside barrels or lay under giant rocks? “You’re the guest of honor!” they are told, and that’s pretty much all of the convincing they require. Morons. And why do they go to all the trouble? Just shoot them in the head and be done with it.

Unsurprisingly, it’s hardly a technical masterpiece, either. Muffled or slowed down audio is frequent, shots randomly jerk up or down to get things in frame, etc. It’s sort of charming, but at the same time, it’s annoying. The basic concept for the movie is great, but it’s ruined by just about everything. I know folks will say that’s part of the point, but it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to watch (at least, by myself; I’m sure if I was half drunk and at the New Beverly in Los Angeles that I’d be enjoying it more). Hopefully the remake will improve matters (it certainly has a better cast – Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, etc). I’ll try to check that out soon.

This was the first Lewis film I have seen – any suggestions? I’d like to see Blood Feast, but if it’s the same shit I’ll just pass for now; even watching a movie a day has its limits!

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. Two Thousand Maniacs is one of the best movies ever made! Top 10 for sure.


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