Bill Moseley - Mayor George W. Buckman
Lin Shaye - Granny Boone
Christa Campbell - Milk Maiden
Ryan Fleming - Hucklebilly
Katy Marie Johnson - Rome Sheraton
Asa Hope - Tina Sheraton
Jordan Yale Levine - K-Jay
Alex Luria - Jesus
Nivek Ogre - Harper Alexander
Ahmed Best - Crow
Trevor Wright - Falcon
Genre - Horror/Slasher/Comedy
Running Time - 84 Minutes
In 1964, Herschell Gordon Lewis released the second installment in his "Blood Trilogy", TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! The splatterfest has remained a staple in the drive-in theater era, gaining a massive cult following due to its high level of gore, violence, torture, and B-movie direction and acting. Hell, it inspired the name of the band 10,000 Maniacs, so you know it's pretty good.
In 2005, Tim Sullivan was given the power to remake TWO THOUSAND MANIACS for the modern era. Dubbing it 2001 MANIACS, Sullivan casted Robert Englund as the main villain. Even though it went straight to DVD, the film has slowly gained a huge audience since its release. Add to the fact that the film is actually pretty solid and a lot of fun to watch. I mean, when you have insane amounts of gore due to highly elaborate death sequences mixed with interesting villains, how can you go wrong?
Now five years later, Sullivan finally got to release his sequel, 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS. Without studio pressure, Sullivan was now allowed to make the film his way. Unfortunately the budget was cheaper and Robert Englund couldn't return to reprise the role of Mayor Buckman due to scheduling conflicts. But with cult horror actor Bill Moseley replacing Englund, the interest was still there for the sequel. Too bad the film isn't as good as the first one. Still, 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS is still worth visiting the Confederate South for.
Ever since their deaths, the people of Pleasant Valley have graciously opened their town for Northerners in order to gain revenge on them and collect 2001 souls to end the curse. But as the years passed on, not enough Yankees have bothered to take them up on the invitation. Realizing that the law would just keep shutting them down, Mayor George W. Buckman (Bill Moseley) and Granny Boone (Lin Shaye) decide to take a road trip with some members of their fine community, and meet up with Northerners along the way. Thus, the "Guts and Glory Travelling Jamboree" is born.
On the way towards Iowa, the Maniacs encounter a reality TV crew. Apparently the show is about two spoiled socialites who are placed in uncomfortable situations. Gee, where have I seen that show before? Anyway, the crew is stranded and decide that the Maniacs would make for great television, as well as cutting costs by bringing the South to Iowa. Too bad the crew doesn't realize that this deal is going to cost them an arm and a leg. Probably a head or two as well.
2001 MANIACS worked well because the death sequences were clever, the gore was in-your-face, the nudity was surely welcomed, the performances by the cast were great, and the story never took itself seriously. In 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS, Tim Sullivan tries to make the sequel a bit more over-the-top and a bit more offensive for comedy means. While most of it does work to some extent, I still feel the original film is better. Still, there's a lot to like in this horror-comedy sequel.
The story for 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS is probably the weakest part of the film. But there is some good going for it. The dialogue in the film is pretty hilarious. This sequel really gets into stereotypes and all the racist remarks that come with them. If you're easily offended by racial slurs, skip this film because it is full of them. Southerners, Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, Homosexuals, and the Jews all get their fair share. And I'm not going to lie. I laughed. I didn't want to, but I did. I thought the communication between all of the characters was great stuff. Definitely a highlight in the screenplay.
I also thought the characters were well-written, well at least the Maniac characters anyway. The villains all have distinct personalities and are dastardly in their own unique way. I personally love the child-minded Hucklebilly and the horny Granny Boone. But all the villains are written and portrayed well. As for the victims, only Jesus, Falcon, and Cherry were the most developed. Jesus, the womanizing Latino, had the best dialogue in the entire film and had the most character growth. He pretty much spoke the truth and talked for members of the audience who felt the same way watching this movie. I really liked the guy. Cherry, his main squeeze, also told it like it is. And Falcon, the closeted homosexual, wasn't as developed, but at least he had an arc to be invested in somewhat.
And I loved the FLASHDANCE homage with Granny, Milk Maiden, China Rose, and Scarlet Red. The parody of Michael Sambello's "Maniac" [called "Cannibals"] is pretty damn funny. And the sequence even has Music Video credits at the end! Really funny stuff.
However, the story isn't as strong as in the original. The whole The Simple Life parody with Rome and Tina feels really dated. I mean, when was the last time Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie were truly relevant? Four years ago? Also, the reality show thing was done in WRONG TURN 2, as well as in HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. So it does feel a bit old hat. At least the scenes filmed for the show were pretty funny, especially Granny's cooking show. But the premise could have been a bit more modern.
Also, the victims [except for Jesus, Cherry, and Falcon] are all horribly written. The two socialites, Rome and Tina, are just as annoying as Paris and Nicole. They annoyed me to no end. They belonged inside a tent with Tina from HALLOWEEN 5, Violet the Robot Girl from FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING, and that dumb bitch that likes to crawl between aisles in DEMONS as a bomb dropped down on them and killed them all. Couldn't stand these two! The lesbian producer, Val, was just as bad. She was just a bitch from beginning to end. And I usually love women with accents, but this woman did not turn me on at all. I just wanted her gone. Jerry, the Jewish director, wasn't as annoying but I could have cared less about his ass. It's sad that I found the over-the-top villains more interesting, to the point that I wanted them to torture these idiots before killing them. 2001 MANIACS had better victims than this sequel, which is a shame.
The real attraction in 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS are the death sequences. Again, the deaths are better in the original than in the sequel. But there are still some memorable ones. We get a head exploding. We get a guy having his torso ripped from the rest of his body in a BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN reference. We have an engine tearing a guy's head into pieces. Two people get run over. We have an electrocution. And probably my favorite ones: a victim getting their face tore off by a chastity belt, and a victim getting torn in half by a buzzsaw that started from her vagina up [probably the best death in this franchise so far]. For a low budget film, the two top deaths were done really REALLY well. The others were just okay-to-good.
The direction by Tim Sullivan is very good. I think what makes Sullivan an asset in the current modern horror scene is the fact that he truly makes these films for the love of it. You can tell which director makes a film for monetary reasons and which director makes a film to entertain the audience. Sullivan is the latter and he definitely has fun with the material. Without the studio telling him what he can and can not do, Sullivan lets it all hang out. We see the deaths vividly. The sexuality is in your face. And the jokes never stop. While the movie does look cheaper than its predecessor, it kind of adds to the charm. Plus it was shot in just 12 days, so I have much respect for Sullivan to pull this kind of film off in such a limited time span. I do believe the first half of the film is stronger in terms of pacing and material [the final act did nothing for me really except for a few key moments], but I do enjoy Tim Sullivan's work. And if he decides to do another installment, I'll be there to watch it go down.
The acting is pretty solid for the most part. Bill Moseley takes over for Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman. I do feel that Englund is a much better fit for the role, as it's just made for his acting ability. But Moseley does a good job, and I respect the fact that he didn't copy Englund's style. Moseley makes Buckman his own character and I commend the performance. Lin Shaye returns as Granny and I feel she's the M.V.P. of the film. She's funny. She's sadistic. And I believe she had the best moments in the entire film, which she carried extremely well.
The other actors do a decent-to-good job as well. I think the only other standout was Alex Luria as Jesus. I just loved the character and Luria brought him to life very well. And to Christa Campbell, Nicole Rae, and Kathryn Le - THANK YOU for revealing your beautiful breasts. I enjoyed their performances very much. If that's not talent, I don't know what is!
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE SMILING THAT I WAS BORN IN THE SOUTH
- The Sheriff was murdered when the Maniacs trapped him in a barrel with nails through it as they rolled him down a ramp. That must've hurt, but you know what they say in the South: It's on like Donkey Kong!
- Cherry told Jesus that she wanted him to give her a "hard shell taco", not a "soggy chingadero". Well I have a "foot long meatbeat marinera sub" for her to feast on. And it's a lot better for her body than any taco!
- Everytime the socialites would have nightmares, they'd have to go tinkle. If every A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET installment had to deal with this issue, the franchise would really be piss poor!
- Granny says that with the right amount of butter, a corn on the cob can be a great "nighttime buddy". That's one way to get it poppin'!
- Bristol, the blonde, got split in half by a buzzsaw from her vagina, up. Bristol, the Palin, got split in half when Levi Johnston took her virginity. I'm sure the buzzsaw will be more satisfying at the end.
- K-Jay got electrocuted in a chair until he burst. And to think he thought he was only getting his photo taken. It must have been quite a shock!
- Falcon got split in half when his potential Confederate lover bent him backwards. I thought you had to bend forward when it comes to things like that, but I guess it's done differently in the South!
- Don't go down on a Confederate lesbian wearing a chastity belt. She'll probably tear the skin off of your skull. And believe me, no one wants to "face" that...
THE FINAL HOWL
I don't understand the bad reviews for the film. If you don't take it seriously, 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS is a pretty fun time waster. Too bad most of the protagonists are annoying, the story weakens in the second half, and some of the death scenes could have been better. But at least the acting is okay, the direction is good, and has memorable moments [funny and gory] that most modern horror films wished they had. It's not a necessary watch, but if you enjoyed the first one and can't get enough of these Confederates, you could do worse than 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS. Hopefully the South will rise again... this time with a better script and better characters.
2.5 Howls Outta 4