Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964): United States – directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
Not rated by the MPAA – contains ridiculous violence and blood
Note: As I will be out of the country for a period of time, I have decided to inflict upon anyone who reads these reviews a sampling of my earlier work. These will be shorter, less formal, poorly written, and generally crappy. They will lack stills and links, and I will apologize in advance for their poor quality. They have received minor edits to (very slightly) improve readability. Enjoy.
(review originally published 12/14/08)
This is one of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s gore flicks, along with classics(?) like Blood Feast and A Taste of Blood. It’s much the same as Blood Feast: a terrible plot tied together with an awful script, some very poor acting, continuity problems, and a bunch of excuses to chop women up. Therefore, it’s a classic.
This one involves a town in the south that got mutilated and destroyed by Yankee soldiers, and now, 100 years later, people in the town lure some northerners to participate in their centennial celebration, which pretty much involves a horse race (quartering someone), a barrel role, with extra nails, and a drop-the-stone-on-the-person game.
This film would probably be considered very offensive to most southerners. Everyone in it (except the Yanks) adopts a terrible southern accent, and yells and yeehaws and waves confederate flags around. Seriously. The beginning shows a young boy, a noose, a black cat, and then some cat yowls. The northerners lured into the town include a foursome of two married couples, one couple that hurriedly leaves their partner to hook up with a southern belle and a southern pervert. Yes, they both die. (Spoilers) Another car has a young lady in it (Connie Mason, looking quite pretty and acting quite poorly, though possibly through no fault of her own) and a hunky teacher she picked up hitchhiking.
The end of the film is rather odd, as the town suddenly disappears, either through supernatural or magical means. Then, in the final twenty seconds, they explain it, and it is supernatural. This, after the entire rest of the film is played totally straight. That means about 80 minutes of normal movie, then 3 minutes of wtf, mate?
But anyway, the plot and/or acting is of no concern to a person wanting to see the movie. They want gore, darn it! And the film contains some, including a cut off thumb, and a cut off arm (which leads to instantaneous death, evidently). Then there’s the quartering, the stone dropping. None of the deaths is particularly graphic, shown more in “oh, here’s the ax” then “oh, here’s the arm, already chopped off.” Then we get to see a bloody stump of an arm. So, really, the gore is rather poor, but I guess for 1964 it’s acceptable.
Anyway, the film would be fun to watch in a badfilm/gore film type of way. I could recommend it for the pirad house, and possibly to some for individual viewing. Other than that, unless you’re a film history person, avoid.
P.S. Apparently the pretty girl, Connie Mason, who is quite chaste in the film (despite a leg washing scene), was a Playboy Playmate of the Month in 1963. In addition, the bikini bondage scene in the poster is not in the film, as far as I know.