2001 Maniacs (2005)
Writer/director Tim Sullivan knows exactly what he’s doing with 2001 Maniacs: You need only wait maybe two minutes past the opening credits to get nudity, then 10 more for the plot to be fully established. A remake of H.G. Lewis’ infamous, influential Two Thousand Maniacs! of 1964, it unexpectedly plants you on the side opposite of the “heroes.” In other words, you can’t wait to see these assholes get killed.
Said assholes are frat boys on spring break; they’re the kind of guys who see and refer to women only as “pussy.” On their way to Daytona Beach, they and a few other students stupidly follow a homemade detour sign and end up at the ironically named Pleasant Valley, a small town ready to kick off its annual Guts N’ Glory Jubilee. Mayor Buckman (Robert Englund), he of the Confederate-flag eyepatch, insists they stay as the guests of honor.
That’s because, of course, they’re to be the main course of the barbecue for this cannibal clan. Via Buckman’s bevy of busty beauties, the boys succumb to their comely charms, only to end up on the business end of machines of torture. This allows Sullivan to go whole-hog in updating Lewis’ brand of Southern-fried splatter for the gorno generation.
But it’s not without a strong sense of humor, mostly effective, in the same vein as Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever (Roth serves as producer and provides a cameo), and some of it even qualifying as sharp satire on racial and regional stereotypes. If you have an open mind and don’t mind the mess, you’re apt to find 2001 Maniacs mighty tasty — perhaps even finger-lickin’ good. —Rod Lott