Two Thousand Maniacs!

Movie Released: 1964 | DVD Release Date: February 22, 2000



Six people from the northern United States are lured to the small southern town of Pleasant Valley as guests of honor to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the destruction of the town at the hands of northern troops.






Herschell Gordon Lewis, the aptly name “Godfather of Gore,” wrote and directed this blood-soaked look at people out for revenge. The manic cruelty of this classic, exploitation piece makes it extremely hard to watch. The deadly celebration is a carnival. The guests are forced to participate in graphically tragic games. One woman is crushed by a boulder in a modified dunk-tank game while another is dismembered and cooked for the townsfolk to enjoy. [easyazon_link identifier=”B00004KDES” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]“Two Thousand Maniacs!”[/easyazon_link] is not for the weak stomached. 

There are a lot of characters in [easyazon_link identifier=”B00004KDES” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]“Two Thousand Maniacs.”[/easyazon_link]. According to Wikipedia, the movie was made in a small Florida town and the whole town took part in its production. The standout performance of the movie is the mayor played by Jeffrey Allen. He has a duty to the people to give them a Centennial Celebration they’ll enjoy and, as such, he has the best scenes that drive the plot forward. He is the one-townsperson character that doesn’t read as ruthlessly brutal but as someone who simply knows what must be done. Connie Mason (a popular Playboy Bunny) plays one of the Northerners, and while she does a credible job of playing a woman trying hard to escape, she often fails to convince the viewer of anything but that she’s just really pretty. 

[easyazon_link identifier=”B00004KDES” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]“Two Thousand Maniacs!”[/easyazon_link] was made in 1965. If it had been made in present day, much would be made of the caricatures of Southern people (not to mention the scores of Confederate flags that must have been commissioned for the film). The movie is rife with bad Southern accents and hokey white-trash back stories. Lewis’s creativity in the graphic and cruel deaths carries what would otherwise have been a really hard movie to watch. The glee that happiness with each death brings a growing shock value that culminates to a resolution that viewers will see coming but still find mind-bendingly interesting. I first saw this movie as a child and had recurring nightmares about being stuck in a town unable to escape.

Taking a step back, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00004KDES” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]“Two Thousand Maniacs!”[/easyazon_link] is not just splatter horror. Lewis’s commentary seems to be of retribution for wrongs. Those six Northern residents didn’t destroy the South but the implication is that we carry responsibility for history into our present day. We pay for the choices of our forefathers.

If you’re a horror fan, check out this classic.

Two Thousand Maniacs! is available as a DVD and on Amazon Instant Video:

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Title Two Thousand Maniacs!
Director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Actors Connie Mason, William Kerwin, Jeffrey Allen,
Shelby Livingston, Ben Moore
Length 1 hour and 23 minutes
Rating not rated
DVD Release February 22, 2000

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