One from the re-watch pile, and dedicated to our dearly and recently departed godfather of gore, Mr. H. G. Lewis…
Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
Film: Those of us who love lots of gore owe a lot to a man who started the fashion of making horror films ‘gory’: Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Nicknamed the godfather of gore, H.G. Lewis got his start in nudie cuties before throwing guts into our lap with his debut splatterfest Blood Feast. The popularity of that film brought us this, his, and producer David F. Friedman’s second horror film, Two Thousand Maniacs!
Two Thousand Maniacs! tells of the beautiful Southern town of Pleasant Valley which is celebrating a ‘centennial’, and need a few ‘Northerner’ guests. So using a duplicitous Detour sign, the townspeople lure two cars, containing a total of six people into town to help with their celebrations.
Unfortunately for the ‘guests’, including Playboy Playmate Connie Mason as Terry Adams, the entire town’s celebration includes death and mutilation of the highest order!
Who will survive? Will they survive intact?
This film is the second instalment in Lewis’ so-called ‘Blood Trilogy’, along with the aforementioned Blood Feast and the follow years Color Me Blood Red. That’s not to say that’s all he made as his first filmmaking career lasted until 1972’s The Gore Gore Girls, and after a 30 year hiatus, in 2002, he returned with a sequel to Blood Feast, and a new film The Uh-oh Show in 2009!
There’s not much not to like about this film. Sure it’s hokey, and the acting is of a level that aspires to be amateur, and even the effects are not what one would define as ‘special’ but it is just so much stupid fun.
The awesome thing here though is that Lewis wrote, directed, filmed and wrote the music for this film, including singing the song that’s heard several times through ‘The South’s Gonna Rise Again’.
Basically it comes down to the fact it’s a simple story that’s a ball to watch, and should be included in any movie watching weekend, especially if you have a newly converted horror fan, and know you’re watching an unheralded classic.
Format: This film was reviewed on the Australian release of the U.S.’s Something Weird Video’s approximately 84 minute DVD of the film. It is presented in a surprisingly good 1.33:1 aspect with a decent Dolby Digital Stereo audio track. What should be expected that a film of this vintage, and made by an independent studio isn’t necessarily going to have the sharpest image. There’s a few sound issues as well, insomuch as there is ‘hissing’ when a few characters speak, but it’s intermittent.
Extras: Only three extras on this disc. There are trailers for both Two Thousand Maniacs! and Blood Feast, and some outtakes from the making of the film, which aren’t exceptional except for the fact that they are so old and the fact they even still existed was a miracle.
WISIA: It’s a gore-lovers classic, you bet it gets rewatched!