Raw Nerve, the new horror production company formed by the terrible trio of Eli (Cabin Fever) Roth, Scott (Intruder) Spiegel and Boaz (Remember The Titans) Yakin, has finally brought forth its first gorrific feature: 2001 Maniacs, director Tim Sullivan’s "re-imagining" of the 1964 Herschell Gordon Lewis classic Two Thousand Maniacs! Those already familiar with the original will know what they’ve gotten themselves into as our main characters follow a bogus Detour sign and arrive in the town of Pleasant Valley, whose residents are hard at work preparing for their weekend "Guts and Glory Jubilee." Soon the Confederate knife fodder arrive with Yankee good looks and are declared "guests of honour" by the one-eyed Mayor Buckman, played pitch-perfect by everybody’s favourite sadist, Robert (Freddy Krueger) Englund. But what else can you expect when there’s a population of, you guessed it, 2001… maniacs, that is!
What follows, surprisingly given our times and political climate, is refreshingly vulgar, completely un-PC and, much like the original, an expected excuse for extremely sadistic humour and gore. Many viewers may be offended by the black humour and straight-up racist jokes that pepper the film’s dialogue, but those of you can rest assured that everyone gets their due by the end. It’ll be interesting to see how the red states will react to such a searing and scabrous document of the South. Englund seems to imbue Mayor Buckman with a well-judged imitation of President Bush, and even the lives of his two sons in the film appear to closely ape those of the Bush daughters.
Longtime Lewis fans will be ecstatic that much, if not all, of his score from the original has been transferred to the new film by way of musical narrators Johnny Legend and his strumming sidekick Spiegel. The supporting cast is stocked with many fine new actors and veterans of the genre. Fans will enjoy the cool seething evil of Giuseppe Andrews (Fever’s Deputy Winston) and Lin Shaye (fast on her way to becoming a middle-aged scream queen after her role in the haunting Dead End). If you’re looking to get scared, this is not exactly the right film, but if you’re familiar with Lewis and his brand of goremongering, you’ll squirm, screech and then writhe with laughter. 2001 Maniacs has all the elements of a good time and still raises a dialogue among viewers that not many have had the balls to address in horror, or filmmaking in general, since the ’70s.
—Shane French, FANGORIA
Hosted by Director Tim Sullivan and Actors Christa Campbell & Dylan Edringtoncredits
Director: Tim Sullivan
Screenplay: Chris Kobin, Tim Sullivan
Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews, Jay Gillespie, Marla Malcolm
Producers: Brett W. Nemeroff, Eli Roth, Scott Spiegel, Christopher Tuffin, Boaz Yakin
Distributor: Lions Gate - Maple Pictures