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Film / Two Thousand Maniacs!

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Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964) is a low budget splatter horror film written and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. It is the second part of the informal "Blood Trilogy", following Blood Feast and followed by Color Me Blood Red. It is known for its scenes of full-color gore and torture, which together with its B-Movie quality direction and acting earned the film a cult following.

Six Yankee tourists are lured into the quaint southern town of Pleasant Valley, invited to be the guests of honor in a centennial celebration of the day Union troops destroyed the town. They soon discover, however, that the festivities are nothing like they expected, as they are forced to take part in a series of extremely violent and gory games.

Two Thousand Maniacs! was remade in 2005 as 2001 Maniacs, starring Robert Englund and Lin Shaye, with Peter Stormare appearing in a minor role. A direct-to-video sequel, entitled 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (which replaces Robert Englund with Bill Moseley), was released in 2010. It had the town going on a road trip due to the fact that there weren't enough fresh Yankees coming into town for them to kill, and coincidentally running into the cast of a reality show centered around wealthy socialites Rome and Tina Sheraton.

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The name of the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs is a Shout-Out to this film, as is the title of John Waters' film Multiple Maniacs.


This film and its remake contain examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Bea is killed when a few townsfolk hold her down on a desk and one of them chops her arm off with an axe. The rest of her limbs are chopped off off-screen and her torso is seen being roasted on a spit.
  • Anachronism Stew: Georgia was a state in the Confederacy, and that's about the only historically accurate part of this movie. The cast all dress in modern(1960's) clothing and hairstyles and have no issue acclimating to modern technology. They even use the wrong flag for the Confederacy, and call themselves Southerners as opposed to the period correct Southerons. Humorously the town where the film was shot, St. Cloud Florida, also was built after the Civil War.
    • Averted in the remake in which everything is almost painstakingly period accurate, except Mayor Buckman's Confederate Flag eye-patch. The crew borrowed all the buildings, clothing and props from Westville Georgia. A town built explicitly as a Civil War historical tourist attraction ala Colonial Williamsburg. Some of the items featured in the movie are even from the actual civil war!
  • Antagonist Title: The two thousand maniacs refers to the population of the town which terrorize Tom and his friends.
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  • Ax-Crazy: The entire town seems to be completely and dangerously out of their minds.
  • B-Movie: Filmed with a budget of $65,000.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the remake's end, all the tourists diverted into the town have been killed.
  • Behind the Black: In the remake, the remaining protagonists sit down in a saloon to discuss their options once they begin to realize something's up. No sooner do they formulate a plan than they notice everyone in the bar and then some has managed to silently crowd around in front of their table.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Lester in the remake. His "darlin'" Jessabelle is a sheep.
  • Big Bad: Mayor Joseph Buckman leads the festivities.
  • Bond One-Liner: In both the remake and its sequel, Huck says this after killing the last two survivors:
    "Damn Yankees."
  • Bury Your Gays:
  • Cold Ham: Peter Stormare as a hardass college professor, who manages to devour the scenery without raising his voice.
  • Deep South: The film is set in a U.S. Southern town and the townspeople exhibit many of the stereotypes. Rednecks and prairies as far as the eye can see.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Rufus in the remake is hinted to be homosexual, and he's one of the murderous townspeople.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played for Laughs in the remake; Mayor Buckman has no problem slaughtering and cannibalizing Yankees, but he's definitely more than a bit concerned about his son Lester's "relationship" with Jessabelle... who happens to be a sheep.
    • Curiously in the remake the townsfolk express no prejudice towards their fellow ghosts who are Black. Not only treating them like equals, but even celebrating the birth of a mixed race child(to a white woman and her former slave no less.) This is actually explained in Field of Screams, Crow explains that when the Union Troops destroyed the town they killed everyone even the slaves. This collective trauma caused a new identity to form based on the experience that overpowered the previous racial and social order. Now, Black Americans who are not their fellow ghosts...
  • Evil Plan: The people of Pleasant Valley seek to kill Northerners in retaliation for being massacred during the Civil War.
  • Excited Show Title!: Just look at that exclamation point!
  • Exploitation Film: The film is largely an excuse to introduce tons of guts and gore.
  • Eye Scream: In the remake, it's explained that Mayor Buckman lost an eye in the massacre of the town. He now wears an Eyepatch of Power.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: The protagonists are ostensibly the guests of honor for a holiday celebrating the Union troops taking the town.
  • Fingore: Harper lures Bea out to the woods and cuts her thumb off before dragging her to the mayors office, the medical fees quite literally costing her An Arm and a Leg.
  • Freudian Excuse: In Field of Screams, after Val says that her mother was a prison guard (when explaining how she knows how to handle a gun), Black Cherry says that that explains a lot.
  • Gorn: People getting drawn and quartered, getting sliced in half, getting their faces ripped off, getting a skewer up the ass... yessir, there is gore here and then some!
  • Kill 'Em All: In the remake, none of the protagonists survive.
  • Pet the Dog: Played with in the remakes as Mayor Buckman doesn't want to kill Anderson. Primarily as Anderson is also a Southerner and thus "one of them." But also as a Southerner he won't count towards the total. The sequel actually states only people from the Northern United States count, Americans from anywhere else, even once who immigrated there, don't count.
  • Road Sign Reversal: The people of Pleasant Valley lure tourists to their town by flipping an arrow sign to make it direct to their town.
  • The Savage South: It's about a town in the U.S. South whose inhabitants kill tourists.
  • Still Fighting the Civil War
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The original's main theme is a sprightly bluegrass number, not exactly the theme to be expected for one of the early examples of a Gorn film.
  • Team Title: The "Two Thousand Maniacs" of the title refers to the population of Pleasant Valley, who as a whole are the antagonists of the film.
  • Vanishing Village: The twist in the original is that Pleasant Valley is actually one of these; when the few survivors call the police and return to the town, they discover it gone, and the police tell them that Pleasant Valley was never rebuilt after being destroyed during the Civil War, complete with finding a marker about the event, the heavy implication being that the townspeople seen through the film were actually vengeful ghosts.
  • War Reenactors: The framework for setting up the deaths is that the protagonists are supposedly participating in a war re-enactment.

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