The first “2001 Maniacs” movie came out of left field for me. I had already seen Herschell Gordon Lewis’ “2000 Maniacs” and While I personally enjoyed it, it seemed like an odd movie for someone to remake. It had the backing of a solid indie studio, and starred Robert Englund, so I checked it out. Some people hate it. It’s campy, with over the top gore, and way over the top acting, but it’s a fun flick, especially if you’re a fan of the HGL original. “2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams” follows that same pattern of campy goodness. Genre favorite Bill Moseley, however has replaced Robert Englund this time around. While we’re introduced to a couple of new characters, the best characters from the first film have been kept.
While the story is not exactly paramount to the plot. It is however, summed up with a slick comic book style intro montage. Basically, during the civil war, some “yankees” came into the small town of pleasant valley, and raped, tortured, and killed the entire town. Since then, the town folk return once a year, luring unsuspecting northerners into a festival, in which they will kill and eat each one of them, until they reach the magic number of 2001, which signifies the number of them that were killed. This year though, the sheriff of the town, who has apparently been playing ball with the ghouls, has told them that he would no longer allow their festival of death to happen. What can they do, other than to take their carnival of the macabre on the road?
Before pressing the play button, you have to ask yourself the following questions. In order for you to enjoy a film, do you have to have solid, clever writing, and amazing acting? If the answer is yes, you’re probably not going to dig on this sequel. Director Tim Sullivan is not out to win any awards with this one. He simply wants you to have fun. In doing so, he’s asking you to forgive a lot of stale lines, cheesy delivery, and classic horror movie clichés. Also, considering that this is an homage to hicksploitation, there is a small amount of racism in the film. It’s never harped upon, nor is it glorified, but used to display how disgusting our antagonists really are. Then, there are things like the one Hispanic character in the film being named “Jesus” and having his name mispronounced as “g-sus” throughout the entire film. I’m here to tell you though, I’m a bleeding heart liberal at my very core, and none of this offended me in any way. It’s an homage, and paying respect to an era of film that was made famous for it’s political incorrectness.
The special FX in this film are most definitely practical. From what I could tell, I didn’t notice one usage of CG in the entire film. This, as you know, makes me happy. Some of the kills were absolutely insane. Ridiculous, of course, but no less insane. One scene in particular involves a naked chick, and a table saw inching it’s way toward her nether regions. Add to that graphic electrocutions, “brokeback” gay sex, and exploding heads, there’s enough gooey red stuff in this flick to make even the modest jaded horror junkie crack an evil smile.
If you like your horror loaded with gore, and filled to the brim with enough nudity to make a late night Cinemax movie look like a Disney film, you’ve come to the right place. It’s cheesy, it’s goofy, it’s gory, it’s off the wall ridiculous, but I can think of much worse ways to kill 90 minutes of your life.
Tim Sullivan, in an interview, stated that he was a little more free to do what he wanted this time around. This translates into some insanely grotesque fun. Kills that you would never see anywhere else. As mentioned before though, if you’re not into campy films, this might not be for you. There is no clever plot twist, nor are there A-list actors to deliver a well written script. It’s just straight up splatter. If that’s what you’re looking for, you will be satisfied.