Review: 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams
5 10

Plot: One-eyed Mayor George W. Buckman (Bill Moseley, replacing Robert Englund) is now taking his travelling road show of cannibalistic cretins up North, where they'll host a Gut's N' Glory Jamboree for a cadre of capricious young bastards starring in a reality show called "Road Rascals." From there, all kinds of cruel carnage, smokin' hot nudity, foul crudity, off-the-wall humor and f*cked up mayhem ensue!

Review: Damn I had a hell of a good time with Tim Sullivan's 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS! If excess to the extreme is your thing, and you happen to have seen Sullivan's 2005 predecessor 2001 MANIACS, then you know exactly what kind of fun we're talking about here. Dude revels in the exorbitant, but not necessarily in a cheesy way...more in a way that embodies the spirit of Hershcell Gordon Lewis' original work. Which is to say, the it's a hyper-energetic hillbilly B-movie, this time fraught with even more awesome one-liners, more gorgeous women, more hilarious set-pieces, and even including a particular deathblow homage to Lewis...pretty f*ckin' impressive fatalities. Ladies and lads, I shite you not...FIELD OF SCREAMS is low-budget schlock at its most entertaining!

Yup, Mayor Buckman is back, confederate eye-patch melted over his face, the same dusty blue suit he's been rockin' for the last 5 years. At his side is the foully salacious Granny Boone (Lin Shaye), up to her same old murderous missions. We also have Nivek Ogre (Harper Alexander) and the busty Milk Maiden (Christa Campbell), a banjo plucking black dude named Crow (Ahmed Best), two dippy nymphs Scarlet Red (Nicole Rae) and China Rose (Kathryn Le), a redneck sheep-f*cker called Lester (Adam Robitel) and another inbred weirdo named Hucklebilly. Basically, the fuckin' A-squad!

When this freakish band of rag-tag slayers happen upon the hip young cast from the reality show "Road Rascals" - Buckman and company dizzy and dazzle them in a way that does the same to the audience. At times we have no idea what's going on, we witness the utter madness vicariously through the young protagonists Rome and Tina (Katy Marie Johnson and Asa Hope, above). A gory cooking lesson, a f*cked up exercise routine, a sweet barrel rolling contest (replete with dude inside, nails hammered into the inside of the barrel), a bestiality exhibition, bizarre theater production - all of it plays exactly as it should - the result has the feel of a twisted, backwoods carnival-show that no matter how silly or goofy it becomes - always has an alarming sense of claustrophobia. Since the flick was shot for 6 bucks, one exterior location serves as the basis for most of the action, and Sullivan does a very good job of keeping you hemmed in...mired in inescapable havoc. Even if you like what you're seeing, you can't get away from it. That I liked a great deal!

Acting awards in the feature go to our distinguished vets, Bill Moseley and Lin Shaye. It's no wonder why these two continue to find work...Moseley plays Buckman with a sedated insouciance...that southern drawl and maniacal laughter enough to make any Yank shite their pants on sight. Shaye has an unbelievable feel for this kind of humor, and nails every line reading with the right amount of camp and kitsch...never underselling or sailing overboard. She's a true pro, and save for the gaggle of nubile frames to leer at, she was my favorite part in the flick. Honorable mention goes to Katy Marie Johnson and Alex Luria, the former gives a believable turn as a Paris Hilton style socialite, all body and a vacuous head. Luria plays Jesus, the driver and de facto Mr. Fix-it for the "Road Rascals" production. Luria's both funny and believable here, and gets to spout some of the best lines in the flick. Andrea Leon, who plays Val, also stood out, if not above the rest, definitely above her younger counterparts. For a production stitched together over a mere two weeks, the acting the picture was perhaps even better than it should have been.

If I were forced to pinpoint the films shortcomings, I'd say they're most visible in the production value, though that's more a product of budgetary constraints than a poorly executed vision by Sullivan. Besides, Gordon Lewis' original has a grainy low-rent look as well, so to remake it with high gloss and burnish would be a grave mistake anyway. However, some of the young actors are amateurish, and a few flat-as-a-board jokes didn't help them any. The middle of the film also loses its footing a tad, there were one or two sequences that were a little tougher to get through than the rest. But let's be real, with such a bang to start to finish, including an impressive kill-count tallied through over-the-top gore sequences...any short lulls are easily forgivable. All in all, 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS was an 82 minute dose of unbridled grime-and-grue, good laughs and absolutely gorgeous gals...a true scream indeed!

Rating: 7.5/10




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