Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Two Thousand Maniacs


(This review was originally published in The Standard-Examiner newspaper)

"Two Thousand Maniacs." Directed in 1964 by "The Godfather of Gore," Herschell Gordon Lewis, who gave us such cult favorites as "Blood Feast," "Color Me Blood Red" and "The Gruesome Twosome." This film is appealing to me because it is a reworking of "Brigadoon," and has a charming "backwoods," hillbilly flavor to it that is very fun to watch.

A small ghost town in St. Cloud, Fla., comes to life to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. The town diverts a carload of Northern tourists to the town to include them in a series of gruesome festivities, such as a man placed in a rolling barrel spiked with nails, a woman tied down to a bull's-eye target with a giant boulder hanging above her, and a young man tied to two horses that pull his body in two directions.

The musical performances add to the Southern hillbilly tone of the film. The film also inspired cult director John Waters' 1970 film "Multiple Maniacs," and is said to have inspired the name of the pop-rock band 10,000 Maniacs.

-- Steve Stones

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