Directed by: Tim Sullivan
Written by: Tim Sullivan and Chris Kobin
Starring: Bill Moseley, Lin Shaye, Christa Campbell, Adam Robitel, Kevin Ogilvie, Ryan Fleming, Larayia Gaston, Nicole Rae
Running time: 82 minutes
Guilty pleasures: we all have them.
Whether it’s that extra large piece of double chocolate cake or that big plate of Bentley wings or some old, embarrassing pop song that gets you seat dancing as you’re tooling down the highway, we each have our own little idiosyncratic treasure.
For me, it’s Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”, but that’s a story for another time.
Today, I think I have a new one by the name of “2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams.”
A sequel to 2005’s “2001 Maniacs” – which in turn is a remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 1964 classic “Two Thousand Maniacs!” – writer/director Tim Sullivan brings back the revenge-driven, bloodthirsty and relentlessly horny denizens of Pleasant Valley, GA to continue their maniacal ways. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, the town of Pleasant Valley was burned to the ground and its inhabitants killed to the last person by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Now, their spirits will not rest until they have killed and equal number of Yankees: 2001. When the townsfolk are unable to attract any Northerners to their “Guts N’ Glory Jamboree,” the gruesome tribe takes their show on the road, looking to up their body count. Where do they end up? Iowa. While there, they come across a pair of “Paris Hilton” types and their crew filming their reality show. Madcap mayhem ensues.
To say Sullivan kind of crosses the line here is like saying a bear is kind of covered in hair. And he doesn’t just cross it, he breakdances, clog-stomps and riverdances across it. This is not a movie for those of delicate sensibilities and it’s not just because of the blood. The humor is coarse and the sexuality is deviant in ways that make sheep around the world cringe. This isn’t a movie that will win any awards for gentility or style, but it’s not looking to. It gleefully revels in what it is. It is a modern throwback to the 70’s exploitation flicks and it doesn’t care who knows. There’s a crotch shot of a buzz saw kill. There’s an exploding head. And did I mention boobs? Yes, there are boobs aplenty. And one could say that leads us into a discussion of the “well rounded” cast.
At top of the list, you have genre workhorse Bill Mosley (taking on the mantle of Mayor Buckman from fellow genre veteran, Robert Englund) and Lin Shaye, who returns to her role as the frisky matron, Granny Boone. Joining them, you have a talented mix of genre regulars and newcomers who clearly enjoy breathing life into this macabre little confection. Will it win anyone an Oscar? Probably not, but they bring a fun, twisted energy to the proceedings.
As I tweeted that night, “2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams” is a joyous, unrepentant little nugget of bloody chaos. Maybe while they’re in Iowa, they’ll run into Kevin Costner.