2001 Maniacs is a tongue in cheek comedy/horror directed by Tim Sullivan about a town of Southern ‘maniacs’ out to avenge their deaths in the civil war over one hundred years earlier. A group of unwitting college students on spring break stumble into the town when they take a detour and get sucked in to the town’s mysterious sounding ‘guts and glory festival’.
You can probably guess where that’s going.
Starring Robert Englund, famed for his role as creature of nightmares Freddy Krueger, alongside Lin Shaye who has an impressively large filmography and also appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street with Robert Englund back in 1984, 2001 Maniacs is a bizarre but brutally funny comedy horror all set in a claustrophobic twisted little town.
It relies heavily on the out right bizarre and an awful lot of gore with a fairly limp connection to history and the grudges held between the North and South of America after the Civil War. The story and reasoning behind it is questionable, but the performances and the complete absurdity of the characters makes up for where the story lacks.
I think the term ‘horror’ is used quite loosely in reference to this film and it fits more as a black comedy. It is pretty gory but the town and the people are too bright and cheerful, and it’s all too funny, for it to be a horror! The representation of the Southern states of America might be somewhat questionable, but it works. The small town theme allows for a lot of subtle humour, and some not so subtle. It is a sex driven gore fest but it’s entertaining all the same.
Bizarre doesn’t even come close! It’s one of those films that you’ll either love or hate. But I love it. There are hidden gems of humour that I didn’t notice before, despite today being the third or fourth time I’ve seen the film. I even had to jot one quote down so I could mention it in my review because it made me laugh out loud, and that was when Englund’s character Mayor Buckman says “Son, one time I had full confidence in a fart. Shit all over myself.” The entire film is full of ridiculous humour, and while it’s not a particularly good horror it is great fun.