Sunday, 22 August 2010

2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams (Sullivan, 2010)

'No reason vengeance can't be fun...'

Director Tim Sullivan presents us with this follow up to 2005's horror comedy 2001 Maniacs, where a group of redneck Southerners are dead set on avenging their ancestors killed in the Civil War by massacring 2001 Northern Yankees. Opening the film, for those who have not seen Sullivan's previous offering, is an introduction to the maniacs - from their leader, Mayor Buckman (Bill Moseley), to the insanely eccentric Granny Boone (Lin Shaye). A comic book style narration sets the scene, then we see the group put a local man in a barrel lined with spikes - then send him for a ride. If there's one thing learnt quickly about these crazies, it's that torture and death is a spectator sport.

Meanwhile, two heiress sisters and their film crew are filming reality show 'Road Rascals'. Stereotypes are abound here, and an obvious parody of socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie can be seen in party girls Rome (Katy Marie Johnson) and Tina (Asa Hope) Sheraton. Although obviously the roles revolve around the girls being ditzy, dumb and useless, their acting is unbearable at points - and the reliance upon 'stupid blonde' gags wears thin. Travelling along with the girls are their boyfriends K-Jay (Jordan Yale) and Falcon (Trevor Wright) - the former a sexually charged red-blooded male, and the latter a closet gay, again provoking some predictable gags.

Thankfully, the Confederate cast make up for the generic, bland Road Rascals crew - particularly Granny Boone, who maniacally chops chickens on camera and incestually seduces Mayor Buckman. When the crew stumble upon the travelling jamboree, they are bemused by the strange inhabitants, but producer Val (Andrea Leon) sees the dollar signs light up in the opportunity.

If gratituous nudity is what gets you going in a movie, there's plenty to ogle - with the Northern heiresses naturally spending their time scantily clad and getting their tits out in a pool, and the Southern girls in corsets and regularly eating face. The gore is textbook low-budget, with the classic splatter-effect bloodshed not quite looking realistic enough, and an amusingly graphic electrocution scene. Indeed, the comical moments arise from the deaths themselves, rather than the cheap gags involving screwing a stuffed sheep. The carnival variety show proves peculiar and vaguely entertaining, with another pop-culture nod by turning the singing Granny Boone and jamboree girls into music video stars.

For a low-budget horror, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams ticks all the boxes - but boxes ticked unfortunately does not a good movie make. It wasn't a hideous film to watch, however the generic blandness made it unimpressively dull. The redeeming comical insanity of the maniacs stops the film from being truly awful, but generally the movie is unimaginative and repetitive - not at all scary, and not all that funny.


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