Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964, Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Not only did Herschell Gordon Lewis manage to make one of the earliest slasher gore flicks with Blood Feast, he then followed it up with an early redneck torture genre movie in Two Thousand Maniacs! Sure the acting remains wonderfully awful, yet beneath that and some cheesy moments lies a movie that in 1964 examines the South being unable to let the Civil War go. Sadly that aspect remains more relevant than ever, and it makes me appreciate this movie more than others do I suppose.

That and the kills are really disturbing and gory for a drive in 1960s flick. Lewis was not afraid to go beyond any lines of good taste, and the poor Northerners who stumble into the town of Pleasant Valley find out all too well how thirsty for revenge the folks of the town are, via multiple different ways of violence! He helps create the cliches of the two dumb redneck guys responsible for orchestrating the chaos, the victims who fail to realize what is happening until it’s too late, and a fun twist ending that would be at home in any modern horror movie.

Lewis did all this, and helped along with others to drag the horror movie genre into the modern era kicking and screaming. I want to see more of his other movies, and I think myself and others have more of an appreciation for his movies, good or bad. This flick will stick with me for a while, that’s for sure.

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