2001 Maniacs (2005)
“You are what THEY eat!”
Director: Tim Sullivan
Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews
Synopsis: Eight college students traveling to Florida for Spring Break stumble into a remote town in Georgia where they are set upon by the residents who are out to avenge their deaths by Union troops over 100 years earlier during the Civil War.
This remake of HG Lewis’s classic exploitation horror of the 60s, leaves much of the hayseed humour intact while using today’s more permissive attitudes to crank up the sex and gore aspects. Sometimes its difficult to be sure what you’re watching — a bad sex flick or a bad horror pic — but either way, the certainty that the makers aren’t really too bothered about the artistic or creative merit of their work leaves you feeling strangely forgiving of its shortcomings. And you can bet your life that Lewis would have been showing the same kind of thing as this flick if he’d been able to get away with it back in 1964.
The story remains fairly close to the original: a group of yankees are diverted through Pleasant Valley by detour signs deliberately placed by the town’s inhabitants and find themselves picked off in grisly and imaginative ways as they discover that they are the menu for the town’s jubilee barbecue. I seem to remember some of Lewis’s killings were a bit more imaginative, though: where was the death by barrel? The luckless strangers are also no longer married couples but the kind of randy youngsters seen only in horror films and American Pie movies, and you don’t really feel sorry for any of them as they stumble blindly towards their inevitable deaths.
The acting’s pretty lousy in this one, and some of the Civil War Southern belles look (and dress) like they’ve just stepped from the pages of a Playboy centre-spread, but the tongue in cheek quality of the humour prevents it from being just another horror flick. Robert Englund stands out as the town’s one-eyed mayor but it is the gory deaths that it will attract most fans of the genre, and they’re not likely to be disappointed.