Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2000 Maniacs

(1965) ***1/2

(Alternate title: “Why Johnny Sweatpants Doesn’t Go to Red States”)

“In April 1865, a group of renegade union soldiers laid waste the village of Pleasant Valley and killed and mutilated many of its citizens. This marker is a memorial to the gallant citizens who gave their lives and a testament to the vengeance pledged in their memories.”

I would describe this movie as a joyous blend of Deliverance and the Wicker Man. You know what you’re getting into at the very beginning with the dirty overalls and banjo music. A couple of hillbillies set up a detour in the deep, deep south. A schoolteacher and a blonde woman drive off and find themselves in the charming town of Pleasant Valley which is in the middle of planning their centennial celebration. Did I say charming? I meant DEADLY-SCARY!!! The town is jam-packed with confederate flags, rocking chairs and underbites.

The locals welcome the travelers with open arms, toothless grins and shifty glances. The visitors are delighted to learn that they have been invited as guests of honor for the big festival. What they don’t immediately grasp is that the locals are still quite upset about the whole “free the slaves” thing. As one yokel puts it “I have a feelin’ yer gonna have more fun thanna beagle onna coon hunt!” Too bad the blonde didn’t catch that one because had she been slightly more astute, she may have prevented her certain death. A cackling hillbilly cuts her thumb off but is kind enough to take her to the doctor. Unfortunately the doctor also finds her suffering pretty amusing. More hicks storm the room and chop her limbs off, while laughing manically. Personally I failed to see the humor.

There are several unpleasant death scenes in this movie and though I won’t ruin them all, I have to share one as it’s one of the most shocking I’ve ever seen, at least in the past four days. For inbred hicks, they have some pretty inventive sadistic methods. Step 1: Carefully place victim into barrel. Step 2: Hammer about 30 or so long nails into the barrel just enough to graze him. Step 3: Roll barrel down a hill. Ow! Ow! Ow! OW! OW! OW! OW! OW! = dead!

This movie scared the shit out of me. Highly recommended.


Octopunk said...

Wow, yikes. I'm giving myself a pass on crazy homicidal hillbillies this year, but I'll remember this one.

JPX said...

Man you're really discovering some great stuff this year! Thus far I haven't had all that much luck, certainly no gems.