Director: Tim Sullivan
Stars: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Despite its title, this movie actually came out in 2005 and it was one of the few horror flicks that I never saw. Now I had heard about this movie for sure. It was a remake of one of Herschel Gordon Lewis’ grooviest gore flicks from 1964, stared Robert “Freddy Kruger” Englund, and was co-produced by splatpack poster boy, Eli Roth. Further, it got pretty good praise from horrorheads for being a goofy, gory, and thoroughly fun little film. So when I got the new Blu-ray release of this to review I popped it in straight away.
So, was the movie everything that I heard it had been, or was I left disappointed, scratching my head, and wondering what all the fuss had been about? Surprisingly, the answer was a little bit of both.
The movie changes a few things from the original, but the biggest change I won’t give away as it was pretty good, even if I did see it coming almost from the start. As for the story it centers around three college guys from some northern university going down to Florida for spring break. These guys, along with a few others, make the mistake of following some detour signs that lead them right to a sleepy southern town called Pleasant Valley. There the Yankees meet a whole gaggle of goofy southern stereotypes who entice them to stay for their “Guts & Glory Jubilee” with promises of delicious BBQ and hot sexy with southern belles. Well surprise, surprise, thing’s are what they seem and the visitors start getting bumped off by the locals in a variety of weird, cornball ways.
2001 Maniacs is a widely uneven movie. It goes from silly to boring you silly, back to being delightfully silly again. For a splatstick flick that offers blood, boobies and very little else, having long stretches of nothing but “character development” (and yes those are ironic quotes) isn’t a good thing. Why? Because the characters only come in two flavors; two dimensional cardboard cutouts or worse yet, completely and thoroughly unlikable in any way, shape or form. The best examples, or would that be worst offenders, of this are the three guys who are the main protagonists. The term “total douchbags” doesn’t even begin to do justice to the heights of douchbagery these three reach. Really, the only actor in this whole movie that I could stand watching for more than thirty seconds was Robert Englund.
So does this mean that this movie has no redeeming features? Well no, it does have the aforementioned blood and boobies going for it, and it does have a few funny moments that in a movie like this are appropriately off color and a wee bit offensive. There’s a hillbilly that likes his sheep a little too much, a homosexual that gets skewered up the rear, and not to forget the “hilarity” that happens when the black guy and the Asian girl show up. If such things sound offensive to you, then you really shouldn’t be watching a movie like this. I however found the total lack of political correctness refreshing and it honestly seemed that it was done without malice. There are also a few cameos to keep an eye out for, some silly songs to chuckle at, and did I mention sex with sheep? Yeah, a little implied bestiality is always good for a laugh.
If you’re a fan of this movie then you’ll dig this new Blu-ray. The picture quality looks amazing and there are a few neat extras on the disc for good measure. There’s a director and producer commentary that’s ok, but then there’s another commentary track with the director, Tim Sullivan and star Robert Englund that was not informative but very entertaining. There are some deleted scenes, including the original opening that had John Landis in it, and a nice behind the scenes featurette. In short, nothing new on this BD that wasn’t on the DVD, but if you don’t already own this movie and you’re a fan, or you just want a more improved picture, then this is the version for you.