Two Thousand Maniacs!

Year Of Release: 1964
Running Time: 83 Minutes
DVD Released By: Something Weird Video
Directed By: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Writing Credits: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Filming Location: St. Cloud, Florida, USA

Starring: William Kerwin (Tom White), Connie Mason (Terry Adams), Jeffrey Allen (Mayor Buckman), Ben Moore (Lester), Gary Bakeman (Rufus), Jerome Eden (John Miller), Shelby Livingston (Bea Miller), Michael Korb (David Wells), Yvonne Gilbert (Beverly Wells), Mark Douglas (Harper), Linda Cochran (Betsy), Vincent Santo (Billy), Andy Wilson (Policeman), Candi Conder (Switchboard Operator), The Pleasant Valley Boys (Themselves)

Tagline #1: An Entire Town Bathed In Pulsing Human Blood! Madmen Crazed For Carnage!

Tagline #2: Brutal... Evil... Ghastly Beyond Belief!

Tagline #3: Gruesomely Stained In Blood Color!

Tagline #4: A town of madmen crazed for carnage!

Tagline #5: The Most Diabolical Device Ever Contrived... Designed Solely for Carnage by a Town of Madmen Crazed with BLOOD LUST!

 

Alternate Titles:
2,000 Maniacs (1964)
Centennial (1964) (USA) (fake working title)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Jerome Eden, who played John Miller in this film, actually appeared in all three of Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Trilogy films. In Blood Feast he had an uncredited role as the high priest and in Color Me Blood Red he played a character named Rolf. He also appeared in several other films from Herschell Gordon Lewis and/or David F. Friedman including The Defilers (1965), Bell, Bare and Beautiful (1963) and Daughter of the Sun (1962). In addition to his on screen role in Two Thousand Maniacs!, Jerome also wore a second hat as the production manager.




Cast Of Characters
Tom White: He was just a school teacher on his way to a teacher's convention who had car trouble and caught a ride from a pretty girl. He had no idea he was gonna end up in a town full of loonies. I mean, why should he? The last town he was in only had one loony, and all he wanted to do was cook up an Egyptian feast.
Terry Adams: And here's the pretty girl he got a ride from. I know it's a bad picture of her, but she never really had any good face shots I could grab, so I figured I'd get this one where she's showing all her pretty white teeth. Aren't they pretty? She could have had a great career in toothpaste ads, but instead she chose to do that whole Playboy Playmate of the Month thing in June of 1963 and started appearing in Herschell Gordon Lewis movies. Actually, she only appeared in two of his movies... Actually, now that I think about it, she only appeared in two movies period. Maybe she should have done them toothpaste ads after all?
Mayor Buckman: I apologize for this character shot. I had to take it from one of the screenshots below. I think this is the first time I ever had to do that, and I hated doing it, but this big fat jerk just would not look at the damn camera. He bobbed and weaved more than Diana Ross at a DUI checkpoint. This was the only shot I could get of him where he was actually looking towards the camera, so I had to use it. He's the mayor of the town, which you'd think would mean that he's the most obnoxious person in it. Unfortunately, that's far from the case. The two guys below him here both got him beat in that department.
Lester McDonnell: Lester's the program chairman of this little shindig they're having, so basically he's the one that's in charge of coming up with creative ways for their yankee guests to die. Unfortunately, two of his ideas went unused since Tom and Terry escaped at the end. Oh well, maybe he can do toothpaste ads as a side job until the next centennial celebration.
Rufus Tate: Rufus is the head chairman of the festival, which basically means it was his and Lester's job to steer the yankee guests into town and to make sure everything went right. This guy's about as bright as a 2 watt light bulb, talks like a hillbilly crack addict and looks like he'd be more at home around the back end of a sheep than anywhere else.
John Miller: He's the obnoxious yankee. He's married to Bea, but all he does is try to score with other women all the time. Unfortunately, that led him to be easily distracted by the town floozy, which ultimately led to him being separated into five different pieces after being tied to four different horses. Basically he was a jerk and I hope the horses pooped on what was left.
Bea Miller: This is John's wife and not a bad lookin' dame. She wasn't as obnoxious as John...at least she wasn't until Harper cut her thumb off. Then she got real obnoxious. Hell, I was happy when they killed her just so she'd stop screamin'. Anyway, the whole thing came about because Harper led her off into the countryside to make out with her, with the whole intention being that he would mess her up, get her back to town, and then they'd kill her and cook her up that night at the barbeque. If her and John had just stuck with each other instead if letting themselves be led around by their glands, they might have still been alive at the end of the movie.
David Wells: He's the nerdy yankee. They played roll out the barrel with him, only before they rolled him down the hill in the barrel, they drove a bunch of nails through it. I can't say I was sorry to see him bite it though. He was a nerdy dork, and he had a hot wife who was totally wasted on a dork like him.
Beverly Wells: She's the nerdy dork's wife, and man she was hot. I know it's hard to tell in this picture, but she was just incredibly beautiful. At least she was before they tied her down and dropped a big ol' rock on her. After that, she kinda lost some of her appeal.
Harper: He's a big dumb southern dork, but between he and Betsy, they manage to work the yankees into vulnerable positions so they can be manipulated and killed easily. He's really not all that great looking, so I'm kinda surprised someone as attractive as Bea was led astray by him. Oh well. Look who her husband was. There's no accounting for taste.
Betsy Gunther: She's the town floozy, and she wore the same dress all the time. Granted the movie only really went for two days of movie time, but still, you'd think she'd have changed her clothes. Anyway, it was her job to come on to John and to drag david off to the barrel roll. Other than that, all she really did was hang around lookin' freaky and actin' slutty.
Billy: This bratty little turd needs a good butt whupin'. He wasn't in the movie all that much really, but I had to put him in here because he was probably the biggest spoiled brat little bitch I've ever seen in a movie. I figured anyone that annoying was worth a mention in my character section.



Screen Shots
"What the hell did you hit now? Damn women drivers..."
It's really hard to find pretty girls to be the town floozy nowadays. I guess you gotta take what you can get. See that guy behind her? You can tell by that look on his face...he's been floozy-ized.

"Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"

Note to the mayor: It didn't work for Howard Dean
and it's not gonna work for you either. Dork.

"Jeez I'm sorry honey. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Maybe I'm just tired."

"Why shucks mayor. You knows I done
gots me the smoothest balls in town!"




Best Quote

"We're celebratin' somethin' that happened over a hundred years ago. It's a big deal around here, and part of the ceremony is that we get us some strangers from up north. Ya get everythin' free. It's an honor damn it!"

- Mayor Buckman explaining to the car full of yankees just what's goin' on in little ol' Pleasant Valley. - (Reviewer's Note: I'd be like, "Hey, sounds good to me! Where's the food? Oh, and where's the bathroom? It's been a long trip.)

 


 

"We got us some Good 'uns! Dawged if we don't!"

- Rufus commenting on the quality of the yankee folk they got for the celebration. - (Reviewer's Note: Man, like I'd be in the van and out of Freaksville before you could say Scooby Dooby Doo.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Two Thousand Maniacs
Lester, unable to listen to Bea's obnoxious screaming any longer, takes matters into his own hands.



Summary and Conclusion

I love Herschell Gordon Lewis movies, and this one was no exception, but I have to say that this one didn't really meet up to Blood Feast standards. Two Thousand Maniacs! is the second film is Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Trilogy, and yet it came up lacking when compared to it's earlier predecessor.


The basic story of the film involves a southern town called Pleasant Valley that's about to celebrate it's centennial. Part of that celebration involved diverting six yankees from the highway and getting them into town to be the "special guests" of the two day celebration. Unfortunately, there's a sinister plan hiding behind the joviality of the celebration. See, during the Civil War, a renegade group of yankees came through the town, killing and mutilating countless numbers of it's residents. Now, one hundred years later, the town is celebrating it's centennial and the plan is to murder the six yankees in a mostly symbolic act of revenge for their murdered forefathers. To this end, Rufus and Lester put some detour signs out on the highway and manage to divert two cars into town, giving them their six yankee victims. Early on, they're all suspicious of the towns celebration and it's motives, yet they go along with it until they can get something concrete to confirm their suspicions. Unfortunately for them, Tom, being the inquisitive school teacher that he is, is the only one to figure out what's really going on. By the time he does though, it's already too late for the others, and he really only has time to save Terry. The rest all become victims of the town's festival of revenge. There is an interesting twist at the end of the film that genuinely surprised me, but I won't ruin it here. Suffice it to say that it adds quite a bit of interest to the rest of the story.


In general, Two Thousand Maniacs! had all the elements that could have made it a great film, but it lacked in the most important element of all...the gore. Blood Feast succeeded because it had quirky characters, bad acting, cheap music, and gore that was in your face and the focus of every single murder in the film. That's where this film went wrong. It was more focused on the method of the murder than it was of the result of it. After Herschell's success with Blood Feast, I can't imagine why he would hold back on the gore with this one. What little gore there was was overly fake looking and was only seen in relatively short shots without much focus on the bloody results of the violence. The only time they really focused on any of the gore and tried to make it meaty looking was when Harper cut off Bea's thumb and then later when her arm was cut off. Even in that scene, when Rufus picks up the severed arm, it's completely stiff and looks like a mannequin's arm. There was no effort put into realism at all. But despite the lack of gore, this film did have it's good points.


William Kerwin and Connie Mason who did a wonderfully goofy job together in Blood Feast both turn in great performances. The acting on both their parts was quite good and Connie Mason wasn't actually reading her lines in an obvious way at any point as she did in the first film. The rest of the cast did a great job as well including over the top performances by Ben Moore as Lester and Gary Bakeman as Rufus. Those two really sold their parts and came off as a couple of moronic hillbillies who looked like they'd be right at home hanging around the backsides of various farm animals and drinking moonshine. I mean sure, the acting seemed a little awkward sometimes, but that's one of the things that adds charm to a film like this and makes it fun to watch. The other thing that's necessary for the actors to work with their roles well and for the movie itself to be a success is a well written story. In this case, the story was well written with a lot of creative ways to kill people and it really gave the actors a chance to play up their parts to the fullest.


Technically, the film had a few problems that made it difficult to watch at times. Most of the night scenes were overly dark, which made it difficult to follow what was going on at times, and the dialogue was at times hard to hear due to low recording levels, room reverb, and overly loud music. The barrel scene in particular had an interesting quirk. The dialogue was mixed in after the fact because it was a bit of a distance shot and it was outside, but the audio was running at the wrong speed when they mixed it in. This led to Mayor Buckman and Lester both talking slower and in deeper pitched voices than they should have. The whole thing was rather amusing, though I did wonder briefly if maybe my DVD player wasn't playing the movie at the right speed. Fortunately, a quick click and an observation of the movements of the people in the scene confirmed that it was.


Overall, Two Thousand Maniacs! isn't an awesome film, but it is quite good and some of the characters, especially Lester and Rufus, really make it a lot of fun to watch. Herschell Gordon Lewis really needed to give us another gore spectacular after raising our expectations with the far superior Blood Feast, but failed to deliver on what could have been by far the coolest part of this movie. I mean, when I guy gets rolled down the hill in a barrel with nails sticking through it or a girl is killed by having a huge rock dropped on her, I wanna see the results! Don't show me bloodstained clothes where the blood looks way thicker and more red than it should. I wanna see the ripped up meaty goodness in all it's splendor. That is after all why we watch these films. It's not for the bad acting (although that's a part of it), and it's not for the story or the music or anything else. We wanna see the gore, and when it's not delivered, we're left feeling a little short changed.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3½ Bees

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