Our November feature is one of the latter and it's sort of suitable for Thanksgiving(if you're into cannibal dinner parties, that is) with 2001 Maniacs, a 2005 remake of a classic Hershel Gordon Lewis film originally titled 2000 Maniacs.
For those who may not know, HGL is considered the grandfather of the gore film genre with his best known work being 1963's Blood Feast(it's seen briefly in Serial Mom, where Beverly Sutphin appears to be a fan, much to the surprise of her son).
2000 Maniacs is actually considered the second in HGL's Blood Trilogy and believe it or not, this flick is supposed to be based on the musical Brigadoon, which is about a magical town that opens up to outsiders once every hundred years or so.
In this case, the demented residents of the southern town of Pleasant Valley allow Yankee visitors to join in their "Guts and Glory Jubilee" celebration, which celebrates the Civil War event that wiped the town off the map. At the head of the welcoming committee is Mayor Buckman(Robert Englund) who is as pleased as spiked punch to greet his "special guests", including one young man who turns out to be a fellow Southerner:
The wacky redneck townsfolk are way too eager to please(not to mention keeping their bigotry in check when a biracial couple stops by) and all too soon, it's clear that this festival is an intended death trap. And yes, these folks do eat what they kill.
The goal of these grisly grinning hosts is to kill an even number of outsiders for every person that died during the Civil War massacre over 140 years ago. The phrase "an eye for an eye" comes up a lot here.
The death scenes are far from subtle, with a draw and quartering, full body skewering and this dance number where the "belle" of the bell doesn't have to ask for who the bell tolls:
Englund doesn't just chew the scenery, he devours it, His only true competition for that honor goes to Lin Shaye as Granny Boone, the sinister sweet hostess with one hell of a rebel yell. To be honest, I really don't care for this one; I'm no stranger to gore and politically incorrect humor but gore for gore's sake never interested me. The actors seem like they're having fun here and if you're in the mood for this kind of thing, I suppose it could be fun.
A major minus here was the difficulty of rooting for the hapless victims(other than a general wish not to see people get hurt like that). They were basically a set of walking, talking stereotypes that were just as obnoxious as the psycho hell-billies they encountered. For the most part, I was just waiting for this to be over and done with:
For fans of old school gore, this is your particular cup of ghoulish tea and you're welcome to it, my friends. This isn't the worst movie I've ever sat through(the most recent candidate for that honor is Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie and I didn't even make it all the way to the end) but this was more of a chore than a guilty pleasure.
The Year of Freddy Fear will at least end on a high note, as we complete our run with Freddy Vs. Jason in December. In the mean time, beware of too friendly festival folks and keep an eye out for what's cooking up on the barbecue: