I was intending to write about this movie and describing it as one of the worst films I have ever seen. Some time has passed since I first wrote the review I was hoping to transcribe today. However as a week has passed my feelings about this film have softened – especially when I did a little more digging into the origins and backstory of the film.
These facts stand out: the film was shot in 15 days; the movie is loosely based off of the musical Brigadoon; the extras included the townspeople; and the director is none other than Herschell Gordon Lewis, who in horror circles is a godfather (of sorts) of “splatter” films – a subgenre of horror.
I was not armed with this information however when I was doing my requisite flipping through the television listings for Turner Classic Movies and stumbled upon this description:
2000 Maniacs (1 star)(1964) The Southern mayor (Jeffrey Allen) and citizens of a Civil War ghost town greet tourists.
I was naturally intrigued by this description and decided to record it (it was on at an obscure time).
Yes the movie is bad but in an unconventional way. Normally with a movie that I find totally unbearable to sit through I will simply turn the channel, stop the DVD player – anything that will remove me from the train wreck I am witnessing on screen. To this film’s credit, I did not want to turn away from what I was witnessing. The plot synopsis tells the audience all we would ever want to know about where the movie is taking us. And trust me as you are watching movie you have a good sense of where everything is going and how it is we arrive there. But still I watched with fascination.
The acting was what one could expect from a standard issue B-movie. The cinematography, editing, etc. were also from the low budget school of filmmaking.
One thing I found extremely impressive was the actual quality of print. The movie easily looked like it could have been made in the 1970’s or 1980’s. In fact there are some films that have “more cultural/historical significance” that are not in as good of shape as this film.
While it may not go down in history as a cinematic masterwork, 2000 Maniacs goes to show that you do not have to be Citizen Kane to keep your audience engaged.
For more background information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Maniacs