2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams – DVD Review

The nicest thing I can say about 2001 Maniacs is that it tries to offend everybody: Southerners, African Americans, Jews, women, and Hispanics all get skewed and skewered (Ha!) in a movie that tries way too hard to be non-PC. If any cannibals have seen it I’m sure that they were offended too.

During the Civil War the residents of Pleasant Valley (population 2001) were horribly slaughtered by Northern soldiers. Tied to the earth by their rage and desire for justice, the 2001 undead Southerners must kill and eat 2001 Yankees for their souls to rest. In the past the citizens lured unsuspecting victims with a fake “detore” sign, but the local sheriff refuses to play ball anymore, and the group of pissed-off, undead Southerners decide to take the show on the road.

In Iowa they meet Northern heiresses Rome and Tina Sheraton (think Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie) who also happen to be on the road filming their show Road Rascals. They entertain the heiresses with their Guts N’ Glory Jamboree, leading up to a bloody, absurd climax.

Like other flicks of its kind, the plot is really incidental; it’s there to move the movie along to the next bloody kill or boob shot. And like movies of this type there’s nobody even remotely likable. The characters are gross stereotypes (both in the pejorative and literal sense of the word) and I quickly prayed for everyone to die horrible deaths. Of course, the 2001 maniacs are the stars of the movie and they survive to maim and commit acts of incest, bestiality, and cannibalism to their undead hearts’ content.

The main attractions for this movie are the aforementioned blood and boobs, and in those departments the movie does deliver. There are some nice-looking women here that strip fairly often, typically right before finding some inventive, over-the-top way to slaughter whatever hapless Yankee they manage to ensnare in their sex trap.

What I find odd about this movie is that it seems to celebrate Southern culture while at the same time playing to just about every Southern stereotype I can think of. As I said above, the movie goes out of its way to portray every stereotype it can, but the Maniacs occupy an interesting position in that they are stupid, racist, and repulsive, yet are also the de facto stars of the movie. They’re monsters, yet are also victims of terrible crimes. In a way this makes them sympathetic while at the same time completely reprehensible. I have no idea if this was intentional or an accident, but it adds a strange subtext to an otherwise vapid, juvenile gore fest.

Obviously, I didn’t care too much for 2001 Maniacs. I was never offended, but I certainly never found the stereotypes funny. The deaths were inventive enough, but I’m really not the kind that takes pleasure from sheer spectacle—I prefer more subtle horror. The only part I liked in any way was the nudity, but that’s not enough to make this worth watching.

The movie was presented in 16×9 with the audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. English and Spanish subtitles are provided for the hearing impaired. In terms of quality, the movie looks and sounds fine.

Given I wasn’t too thrilled with the movie, it’s no surprise that I didn’t care much for the extras. Fans of commentaries will enjoy the track, but I found it pretty standard fare.

Behind the Screams: The Making of 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams

DVD Commentary with Writer/Director Tim Sullivan & Select Cast

Shock & Roll Slideshow

Red Band Trailer

Even though I didn’t care much for the movie, it’s not necessarily bad. Sure, it doesn’t hold up to movies like Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it’s not meant to. 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams is a fun, tongue-in-cheek excuse to show tits and lots of ridiculous murders, and based on that, it’s pretty good. If you’re looking for a silly horror-comedy, you could do a lot worse than this.

First Look Pictures 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams. Directed by Tim Sullivan. Starring Bill Moseley, Lin Shaye, Christa Campbell, Kevin “Ogre” Oglivie, Ahmed Best, and Andrea Leon. Written by Tim Sullivan. Running time: 86 minutes. Rated NR. Released on DVD: July 20, 2010.


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