Thursday, February 16, 2017

2001 Maniacs (2005)

3/4

Starring: Jay Gillespie, Matt Carey, Dylan Edrington, Marla Malcolm, Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Brian Gross, Gina Marie Heekin, Mushond Lee, Bianca Smith

Rated R for Strong Horror Violence and Gruesome Images, Sexuality/Nudity and Language

One of my best friends is from the South.  Whenever we get together, we're usually trying to out-insult each other (he wins every time, except for that one time...).  Occasionally, I make fun of him for being a redneck (which he's not).  Still, I think he'd get a kick out of this movie.  Or he might be insulted.  I'm not sure, but my guess is that he will laugh as hard as I did.

"2001 Maniacs," a remake of a 1964 horror movie, is hilarious.  Let's get that right out there.  It's so campy that it had to be intentional.  Of course, since the acting is either wooden or over-the-top, the shot selection unsophisticated and the special effects obviously cheesy, that would be "intentionally unintentional."  That being said, the story is a howl and there are plenty of laughs.  The majority of which come from ridiculously gruesome deaths.  At least it has the good sense to wear its cheesiness with pride.  Director Tim Sullivan knows we're going to laugh at the movie.  He wants us to.

Three friends, prankster Nelson (Edrington), stud Anderson (Gillespie) and virginal nerd Cory (Carey) are on their way to Daytona for two weeks of drinking, beaches and (hopefully) lots and lots of sex.  Along the way, they get lost and end up in Pleasant Valley (population: 2001).  Joining them are co-eds Joey (Malcolm) and Kat (Heekin) and bisexual Ricky (Gross), and interracial couple Malcolm (Lee) and Leah (Smith).  Pleasant Valley, overseen by Mayor Buckman (Englund) and Granny Boone (Shaye), is like a civil war re-enactment on overdrive.  Every Deep South stereotype is so over-the-top it becomes creepy, although the presence of some well-endowed men and women seemingly eager to get freaky makes such concerns moot.  As anyone who has seen a horror movie knows, this is not a good sign.  Unfortunately for our horny, dim-witted heroes and heroines, this is not "Scream," and by the time they realize that being the guest of honor for the Grand Jubilee means they are the menu, it's too late.

"2001 Maniacs" cannot be viewed in a serious mindset.  It's too cheesy and stupid to be taken as anything other than a piece of camp.  Any attempt to watch this movie as straight horror will result in a brain explosion.  But that's not the intent.  The movie knows its campy and sets out to please the lowest common denominator.  Make no mistake that this is bottom of the barrel stuff.

However, when seen for what it is, this movie is a lot of fun.  Of course you have to have a twisted sense of humor and be willing to laugh when studly men or comely women are ripped apart, sliced up, skewered or otherwise sent to the netherworld.  I have a twisted sense of humor, so I'm able to appreciate this stuff being played for laughs.  Then again, it's hard to imagine anyone being able to take any of this seriously.

The acting is uniformly awful, with the best of the octet being just below the level of porn acting (speaking of which, the sex scenes are kinda hot...just sayin').  At worst, it's embarrassing.  Only horror movie veterans Robert Englund and Lin Shaye (both of whom starred in the classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street") manage to convince, but that's because they're just having fun.

This is a great movie for parties.  Grab a group of your guy friends, have a lot of beer, and shout out advice at the screen.  Be willing to laugh at it.  Then you'll have a great time.  If not, well, you'll laugh anyway.

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