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2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams - Review

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

IF THE idea of gratuitous nudity, bad acting, gut-wrenching gore and bad taste humour fits your bill, then 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams offers just the ticket.

Billed as a long-awaited sequel to 2000 Maniacs, and arriving with the blessing of director John Landis (who states that it’s “one of the rare sequels that surpasses the original”), Tim Sullivan’s film is still a low-budget effort that seldom puts forward anything of real artistic merit.

Rather, it exists to stoop as low as possible… whether sexually or in terms of violence, offering nothing in the way of tension or character development, and revelling in its own crass shortcomings.

Die-hard splatter fans seeking instant titillation to accompany their gore thrills are well catered for… but that’s about all! The emphasis is on bad taste and Sullivan delivers in spades.

The story picks up as the residents of Pleasant Valley take their cannibalistic carnival on the road after the annual round of unsuspecting Northerners fail to show up for their Guts N Glory Jamboree.

Heading to Iowa, Bill Moseley’s Mayor Buckman and entourage encounter spoiled heiresses Rome and Tina Sheraton and the cast and crew of their Road Rascals reality show… enticing them to their jamboree and then picking them off one by one in various disgusting ways.

Deaths include mutilation by hacksaw, decapitation by exploding cigar, and prolonged hanging… and are delivered with lurid delight by the perpetrators. But there’s no sense of loss and no sense of comeuppance – you never once believe the victims will escape, or even mount a credible attempt to, or feel any sense of loss or pain.

Sullivan is merely content to dream up new ways to either disrobe or disembowel, while throwing in plenty of jet black humour via Lin Shaye’s returning Granny Boone (her corn on the cob demo is far more terrifying than much of the gore), or replacement cast members Moseley (stepping in for Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman) and Nivek Ogre as Harper Alexander.

In doing so, he manages to gain the odd guffaw (at best), thanks to pop culture nods to celebrity, reality TV and the US President… but all too often loses grip of proceedings and allows things to drift into amateur hour.

Take our word, the acting is truly awful (some might say deliberately OTT, but not really), while the repetitive nature of proceedings quickly becomes tiresome.

The overall impression, contrary to Landis’ recommendation, is a complete waste of time – a splatter-fest that strives for cult status, but which never comes close to becoming even remotely appealing. It’s shameful to have to admit, but there are much better splatter-fests out there… as depressing and unnecessary as that sounds.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 86mins
UK DVD Release: July 26, 2010