2001 MANIACS   
Directed by Tim Sullivan
Produced by Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegl, Eli Roth, Christoper Tuffin, Brett Nemeroff
Written by Chris Kobin and Tim Sullivan
Director of Photograpy Steve Adcock
Music by Nathn Barr
Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews, Jay Gillespie, Marla Malcolm 
2005/87 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.78:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lionsgate Home Entertainment DVD
I typically open my reviews with a paragraph which introduces a thought or idea that leads into the review proper. But that won't be happening this time. I'm at a loss for words as I'm about to discuss the remake of a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie. I'm even more dumbfounded by the fact that I actually enjoyed 2001 MANIACS. So, as I have nothing further to say...on with the review.

Anderson (Jay Gillespie), Cory (Matthew Cary), and Nelson (Dylan Edrington) are on their way to Florida for Spring Break. On the way there, they meet another group of young partiers consisting of Ricky (Brian Gross), Joey (Marla Malcolm), and Kat (Gina Marie Heekin). While traveling through rural Georgia, the two groups find themselves taking a detour which leads to the small town of Pleasant Valley. They are soon joined by another couple on a motorcycle, Malcolm (Mushond Lee) and Leah (Bianca Smith). They are welcomed to town by Mayor George Buckman (Robert Englund), who insists that the travelers stay in town for the annual festival. Despite the fact that the town is secluded and the inhabitants seem very backward, the group feels inclined to stay. The townspeople welcome the strangers with open arms, promising food, booze, and sex. However, the interlopers quickly realize that something more bizarre than inbreeding is going on here, as the townspeople soon turn murderous. The surviving members of the group must find a way out of the village if they want to live.

2001 MANIACS represents both a throwback to an earlier age, while also displaying traits of postmodern filmmaking. The film is a remake (of sorts) of Herschell Gordon Lewis' 1964 gorefest TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!. 2001 MANIACS follows the same plotline as that earlier film while updating the action to modern-day. Like its predecessor, 2001 MANIACS doesn't shy away from gore or from creative killings, as it actually duplicates some of the murders from the original film. (Alas, the barrel full of nails is not to be had in the new film.) 2001 MANIACS is a B-movie and it has no qualms about this fact. The film blatantly displays its gore and nudity and would have fit quite nicely onto a double-bill with Lewis' movie at drive-in. The inclusion of an African-American and an Asian character throw-off the townspeople, and give a sly wink to the audience that despite the fact that the film's heart is in the 60s, it's mind lies in present day.

2001 MANIACS comes from Raw Nerve, a production group comprised of Eli Roth, Scott Spiegel and Boaz Yakin (who directed REMEMBER THE TITANS and UPTOWN GIRLS), so I'm really not sure how he fits into this group. It's always interesting to see what kind of horror films are supported by those who make horror films, and those familiar the work of Roth and Spiegel won't be surprised by 2001 MANIACS. The producers have let co-writer/director Tim Sullivan have a good time creating this horror yarn which combines violent gore with dark humor. The movie has some very humorous moments and one line which made me laugh out loud. To further twist things, Sullivan has chosen to give the film a bright, cheery look, which makes the violence even more freakish. The young cast is good, but it's the presence of veterans Robert Englund and Lin Shaye which really bolster the movie.

But, that's not to say that all is perfect with the film. The movie wanders too far into comedy territory once too often and simply becomes goofy at times. Once the initial premise has been set, the film turns into an exercise in waiting to see who gets killed next. And I wasn't crazy about the fact that the Southerners were portrayed as either being mentally incompetent or handicapped. Still, it's been a while since I've seen a gore comedy that was as wholly satisfying as 2001 MANIACS. It's no RE-ANIMATOR, but it will do in a pinch.

2001 MANIACS rises again on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. I know that the movie was shot on film, but I don't know if 1.78:1 is the film's original aspect ratio. The image looks very good, as the image is sharp and clear. The colors look fantastic, as the movie is filled with bold, primary hues. There is a slight amount of grain on the image, but it's not distracting. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which is quite impressive. The dialogue is audible and the musical score sounds fine. The surround sound is very impressive, as the rear speaker action corresponds perfectly with the on-screen action. The subwoofer action isn't quite as good, but it does have an impact.

The 2001 MANIACS DVD carries some nice extras. We begin with two Audio Commentaries. The first features director/co-writer Tim Sullivan and star Robert Englund. This is a good talk as the pair speak at length about the film's production, focusing on the actors and the locations, while also discussing the story. The second commentary has Sullivan, co-writer Chris Kobin, and producer Chris Tuffin. This chat more closely examines the making of the movie, where the trio talk about the origins of the script and how the film was shot. This is an amusing talk, as the group candidly discusses the ups and downs of making the movie. "Inside the Asylum Documentary" is a six-part 42 minute featurette which thoroughly examines the making of the film. This very in-depth extra is made up mostly of behind-the-scenes footage and features many comments from cast and crew. The DVD contains 27 (yes, 27) Deleted Scenes which run about 37 minutes. There is an interesting alternate opening featuring John Landis and David Friedman. This is mostly incidental stuff, but there is a small dose of gore and nudity which isn't seen in the final cut. The extras are rounded out by an Audition Reel (7 minutes) which shows various actors trying out in various scenes.





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Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©

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