How many maniacs does it take to change a light bulb? I have no idea. There’s no light bulb changing in this film. However, if there had been, the answer would have fallen considerably short of 2001.
A low budget affair, 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams actually features somewhere in the region of about ten maniacs. Still, that is considerably more maniacs than most films I’ve seen recently, and so it seems ungrateful to complain.
So, this 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams, what is it? It’s the sequel to 2005’s 2001 Maniacs, which itself was a remake of the 1968 movie 2000 Maniacs by Herschel Gordon Lewis. The maniacs that feature in this film are the ghosts of a group of rowdy Southerners from America’s Civil War. Having been killed by some unfriendly Northerners, they return every year on the anniversary of their death to carry out perverted, murderous acts in the name of revenge.
In this particular instance, the maniacs have hit the road, but then stopped hitting the road and set up a camp somewhere. They lure in a reality TV crew (who are filming a series that is basically The Simple Life), who think they’ve struck gold for their new series. Then bloody chaos ensues (sort of) and we get into spoiler territory, which seems unnecessary.
2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams has a lot of problems. Bill Moseley and Lin Shaye are not amongst those problems. Shaye returns in her role as the delightfully bizarre ‘Granny’, and is great fun to watch. Bill Moseley is tasked with the unenviable job of taking over the role of Mayor Buckman from Robert Englund.
Moseley, of course, made his name taking over the role of the hitchhiker in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and so is no stranger to taking on characters already established by other actors. Here he brings his very particular brand of crazy to the character and ensures that Mayor Buckman remains one of the highlights of the series.
The other positive for fans of this sort of thing are the gore effects. There are three or four big gore set pieces and they all work really well. They’re practical effects, rather than CG, which is a big bonus, and fits the tone the film was going for perfectly.
Also, I’ve been told that often people who like lots of gore in their horror films like a bit of nudity as well (I would have no personal knowledge on the subject, of course). Well, there’s a decent amount in this film. Whilst there are not masses of either, you could fairly describe this as a gore and nudity film.
So, if there’s all that good stuff to say about the film, what’s wrong with it? Unfortunately, everything else. The plot is flimsy. To be fair, you might expect that in a film like this, but that doesn’t make sitting through it any easier. The acting is pretty poor for the most part and the characters are thin and forgettable. The film is supposed to be fun, but prolonged periods of nothing but flat jokes and cheap shock comments make the film such a drag that it’s difficult to enjoy any of it.
Something has also happened to the film’s sound. I’ve had a nose about online, and it appears that the problems are a result of filming in a flight path and a horde of angry mosquitoes. It looked and sounded to me that most (if not all) of the dialogue had been recorded after the filming. As a result, it’s hard to hear anything that isn’t dialogue, and much of that is out of sync with the images. It might not bother you when you watch the film, and I know it’s probably not the fault of the people who made it, but it bothered me.
So, 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams is a low budget horror stinker that delivers a bit of gore, some nudity and nothing more. It’s not as good as 2001 Maniacs, which wasn’t very good itself, and it’s not as good as 2000 Maniacs, which was okay. Consider me genuinely disappointed.
2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams appears to have been shot on HD, and the picture on this Blu-ray is bright and clear. I’m sure it’s more of a necessity than a choice, but I think the combination of the HD shoot and the Blu-ray makes this look more like a great home video than a film. It just doesn’t look at all cinematic.
So, it looks good for what it is (which I’m sure is preferable over the DVD), but I personally didn’t find it very appealing to look at. Also, owing to the problems mentioned in the main review, it doesn’t sound so great.
In the way of bonus features, there’s a trailer, a photo gallery and a ‘making of’ documentary. The trailer and photo gallery are both fine, if fairly uninteresting.
The ‘making of’ documentary is made up of on-set footage and interviews cut in with an interview with the film’s director and co-writer, Tim Sullivan, who talks us through how the film came to be. He seems like a nice enough chap, despite a penchant for name dropping (and most of the names he drops are so cool it’s hard to blame him for mentioning them). However, it’s clear hearing Sullivan that with 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams, he and his crew were aiming very low.
By not reaching their own low targets, the makers of 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams have created a film that’s a real chore to sit through.
2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams is out now on Blu-ray and available from the Den Of Geek Store.