Popped in another Christmas present (though I purchased this one myself, using an Amazon gift card—thanks, Tom the DP): Arrow Video’s Blu-ray edition of Two Thousand Maniacs! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the title).
Contrary to popular opinion, I personally prefer Blood Feast, director Herschell Gordon Lewis’ previous effort; when I first saw that seminal horror classic last year, it was an absolute revelation. I was aware of Lewis’ reputation as the “Godfather of Gore,” of course, but I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant until I experienced his twisted vision firsthand—an unholy hybrid of outdated ‘50s B-movie camp and the sort of excessive ultra violence that would define the ‘80s slasher movement. It’s no surprise, then, that this followup pales in comparison; it really is just more of the same.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: like its predecessor, Two Thousand Maniacs! delivers laughs (both intentional and unintentional) and genuine chills in equal measure; the somewhat shoddy production values (exacerbated by the hodgepodge of sources utilized to assemble this particular restoration) even contribute to the bleak, gritty atmosphere—it looks like authentic snuff footage, leaving viewers with the uncomfortable feeling that they’ve witnessed something forbidden. And you certainly can’t deny its far-reaching influence; for better and worse, without this blood-soaked overdose of midnight drive-in madness, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Saw might not exist.