Review: 2001 Maniacs

Posted by Peter Hall - February 25th 2006 @ 3:23 pm

Directed by Tim Sullivan, 2005

A vapid, moronic attempt at a horror film if there ever was one. 2001 Maniacs is everything I hate about horror these days. I’ve heard good things about the original Two Thousand Maniacs!, but this remake is just trash.

Horny frat boys and sluty sorority girls fill out the principle cast of coeds on spring break who arrive, via detour, at a southern town isolated from the modern world who happens to be holding their annual cannibalisitic festival. I’ll not argue that people this stereotypical don’t exist in real life – take a walk on the FSU campus and you’ll see them every 10th person – but they don’t make for an interesting movie. Ever. And yet time and time again this is ALL we get.

But I guess this is what we can expect when Eli Roth is involved. 2001 Maniacs was the first child of Roth’s production company, Raw Nerve. Hostel was the second. Is it any shocker that they both use the same formula of trite-as-hell characters and end up with dumb-as-fuck movies? Roth did it right in Cabin Fever. His characters were all straight out of an MTV casting call, but at least his true appreciation for horror compensated. There is no appreciation here. There is no respect for the genre I grew up with, just a deftly misplaced infatuation with an abundance of partial nudity and silly gore.

But if that is all you want to see in a horror movie, look no further than 2001 Maniacs. If I went through the movie again, which is 87 minutes of my life I hope I’m fortunate enough to never revist, I’m not sure I could count how many girls are paraded around in fantasy cowgirl outfits. This sounds like a more tempting quality to the movie than it really is, because watching the impressive wardrobe department’s efforts isn’t worth the price of listening to horrible – and completely predictable – southern jokes that wouldn’t even cut it on “MadTV”. Hell, this movie even has a running “joke” about a guy with his pants around his ankles who keeps chasing the sheep he is in love with.

The gore effects are solid, the problem is all the deaths that S.O.T.A. FX had to create were either a) unoriginal or b) original but flat-out dumb. One guy actually drinks acid out of a tube (while being straddled by yet another cowgirl), without realizing it INSTANTLY, and is then hollowed out accordingly. I’m not questioning the logic or science behind it – clearly there is none – that’s just a stupid death. There isn’t any other way to describe it.

The only thing about 2001 Maniacs that I find worth praising (other than the wardrobe department if you’re a guy) is Nathan Barr’s score. Barr has always provided quality listening to the genre as of late. The movies he gets to score may be crap half the time, but the man has got talent and it deserves a mention of its own.

Other than that, 2001 Maniacs reeks. The acting isn’t terrible (even though I’ve never been able to get into any role Robert Englund has done outside of Freddy Kruger), but the characters are. The gore works, the deaths just don’t. There is humor, it just isn’t funny. There is a movie here, it’s just bad.


rss 9 comments
  1. Jason M.
    June 5th, 2006 | 2:47 pm | #1

    I liked that it was really stupid. I didn’t rent it expecting it to be serious horror. You’re right about it not being funny enough, though. There were times where I wished they had done or said something more standout-ish. I had to rent it because it had Robert Englund and Lin Shaye – mainly Lin Shaye because I loved her as Magda in “There’s Something About Mary”. Robert Englund doesn’t really win me over either, he’s better as Freddy.

  2. June 5th, 2006 | 3:25 pm | #2

    I always like seeing Lin Shaye as well. I’ve probably recommended it to you in the past, but you should check out Dead End. You will love her in that, plus Ray Wise is just awesome in it. It’s right up your alley.

  3. Jason M.
    June 6th, 2006 | 1:03 pm | #3

    She’s in that?? I believe I’ve seen that at the video store and considered renting it, but didn’t. I will have to check it out now.

  4. June 6th, 2006 | 4:41 pm | #4

    Yep, she plays the mother, and given that the entire movie takes place almost exclusive inside a car, she gets a ton of screen time (more so than anything else I’ve seen her in).

    You’re gonna like it. It’s perfectly executed with a sense of humor I think you’ll really love.

  5. October 2nd, 2006 | 11:04 am | #5

    im definately a fan of this movie because i just love stupid horror. movies like monster man where its nothing but stupid nudity, pointless one liners and idiotic gore just makes me excited. if they had tried to make it a hardcore gore, i loved watching people get bitten off blow jobs and acid through their stomach because its just killing people in an ironic matter ‘boozehounds drink acid & sluts get wide legs pulled wide off’ i just enjoyed it.

    i’ve heared rumors of a sequel. and i’ll admit, im sort of excited. because crappy movies normally make goreier sequels.

  6. October 2nd, 2006 | 5:13 pm | #6

    Yeah, there is a sequel coming out.

    If you liked 2001 Maniacs, you’ll probably love Evil Aliens. It has all kinds of gore and pretty much every bodily fluid imaginable being either spilled or ejaculated. I dug the hell out of it, and I’m normally pretty indifferent to the splatterfests.

    Oh, and get Dead & Breakfast. Couldn’t recommend it more.

  7. pingback

    […] I hated 2001 MANIACS.  Absolutely hated it.  That gross-out, fratboy horror humor has its fans, but I am rarely one.  Unfortunately, 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS looks even worse than the first one.  I’ll be checking it out, but I expect it to be even less of the same since it no longer involves Robert Englund. […]

  8. Adam
    February 21st, 2011 | 3:49 pm | #8

    I’m a bit annoyed with this critique. Horror is a very large genre. There are brilliant well told and well executed movies, horror comedies, gore movies, cannibal movies, slashers, zombies, on and on and on……

    Why review this movie as though it is supposed to be taken serious? It’s obviously a horror comedy. It’s obviously supposed to be a “B” movie. Yet you piss on it because it’s not “The Exorcist?” Maybe this isn’t your particular sub-genre which makes you ill-equipped to critique it because you’ll never like these types. If you do like this sub-genre than you’ll have to compare it to other horror in the same sub-genre to give us an idea of what you consider good.

  9. Simon
    June 13th, 2011 | 10:04 am | #9

    Not entirely terrible, but completely pointless in the same way that Tarantino’s Grindhouse movies were pointless. If you want a cheesy 60s B-Movie, that movie already exists and didn’t need a remake. And Adam, it’s no good claiming “it’s a horror comedy; it’s a B-movie” as a defence. Shaun Of The Dead is a horror comedy; Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a low-budget one. Both have original ideas, actual characters, and jokes that were funny. This has none of those, and Peter made that perfectly clear in his review. It’s rather disingenuous to suggest that he didn’t appreciate it because he went in looking for The Exorcist.

    Incidentally if you hated this, you’ll really hate the sequel. And if you liked this, you’ll really hate the sequel too. How to describe Field Of Screams? Imagine 2001 Maniacs, minus any redeeming qualities at all, made for $5. Sadly, some people will still defend it, because some folks are easily entertained by the mere presence of actors they recognise from other genre films; and because some mistakenly believe that if a film is made “by horror fans” for no budget then it must be ok. They’re wrong. Field of Screams is just awful.

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