Two Thousand Maniacs is one of the first classic gore movies

Originally published at: Two Thousand Maniacs is one of the first classic gore movies | Boing Boing


10,000 Maniacs is a good band.


GIF by Rick James


I doubt that. I think it would have been difficult for TWM screenwriter Anthony Shaffer to have seen Two Thousand Maniacs by 1973, Wicker Man’s release year. The comparatively classier and more respectable The Exorcist was banned in some parts of the UK in ‘74. I don’t see Maniacs getting any theatrical distribution at all before ‘73. Maybe he could have seen it in the US, but I don’t really see Shaffer hitting the Southern drive-ins either.

My favorite HGL flick is Blood Feast, but if you want a film you can take more seriously 2KM is a good choice. Granted, I still think it works more as black comedy rather than horror, but at least the filmmakers seem to know what they’re doing, as opposed to the rampant lunacy of BF.

ETA: Forgive the increased going on at length, but I just remembered this passage and felt I must share. From The Aurum Film Encyclopedia - Horror 1985 edition:


Started to watch the film, and wondered “What’s the Matter Here?” The banjo music and Confederate flags convinced me to stop before more of the answer to that question was revealed… :grimacing:


That’s always my cue to exit stage left, post haste.


Yeah, paddle faster mode engaged.


I happily thought “I haven’t heard that song in forever!” and followed the link.

I’d forgotten it’s about observing everyday child abuse :disappointed_relieved:


I remember seeing this in the drive-in when I was a kid. I think I was 10 or so.

Somehow, my younger brother and I managed to talk my parents into taking us to it. (We often did family outings to the drive-in on Saturday nights during the summer - saw LOTS of movies there.) It was the 60s, it was a different time, movie ratings hadn’t been invented yet.

I remember there were 5 (FIVE!) movies showing: Robot vs Aztec Mummy, 2000 Maniacs, Night of the Living Dead, and two others lost to the death of some of my brain cells.

We thought it was one of the most awesome things we’d ever seen.

I really miss drive-in theaters…



Hey now! Not all banjos!

steve martin swamp GIF

Also… speaking of gorefests (although of the Italian Mondo film variety), has anyone seen Cannibal Holocaust?

I actually saw it at an academic conference once. The Italian government had the director arrested for obscenity when it came out, and then he was charged with murder, as there was a rumor that people were actually killed during production. There was not, but there was some serious animal abuse and the film itself is pretty violent with some pretty horrible rape scenes of indigenous women.


I always encourage a little Rhiannon Giddens when I want to remember the banjo isn’t responsible for the unsavory sorts who often claim it as their own but Kermit and Steve Martin are also great choices!

Also, Cannibal Holocaust is a truly awful movie and I’ve got a deep fondness for bad slasher flicks.


Since this seems a bit out of your usual bailiwick, I’m curious. What kind of conference was this?


Bela Fleck, too? Doesn’t Dolly Parton also play the banjo?

It’s the Pop Culture/American culture conference (this was the national). They had a transgressive film panel, which screened and discussed films like that…


Who knew Steve Martin loved banjos so much? I’ve seen him play several times, most recently with that two man show he did with Martin Short.

He is a very serious player, in fact…


More than half of his Grammy wins are for his banjo work, rather than comedy.


It’s the Pop Culture/American culture conference

That sounds so much better then the time I watched the Cannibal Holocaust rip-off, Cannibal Ferox with Sage Stallone and William Lustig.

1 Like

Yeah, I later found that out that hes quite accomplished. I remember seeing him on some show and he was showing off a really nice vintage banjo.

I like banjo music in general. It is sort of an odd sound compared to other instruments, but I find its sound very… plucky.


I recently inherited a VHS collection from a friend who passed away and this was on top of three boxes of movies.

After watching I was so profoundly moved I wrote this movie review:

“2000 Maniacs”

I had no idea what this movie was about. The beginning starts innocently like any parade I’ve ever attended as a kid except instead of stars and stripes, there are confederate flags everywhere

I was instantly affected by all the confederate flags. It’s a startling reminder of a divided America and to see so many confederate flag waving townspeople was shocking. I see the inspiration for the much tamer ‘Dukes of Hazard’ TV series in this film. The mayor of Pleasant Valley is Boss Hogg and his lackey Lester is Sheriff Roscoe.

As the Northerners get apprehended it reminds me of BLM demonstrations where cars get stopped and people throw bottles and break windows. Or the other way around, where cops drag suspects out of their cars and apprehend them.

I also see the inception of so many other movies. This was produced in 1963 and 10 years later ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ features a similar shocking moment where someone gets their finger cut by a small knife blade. It also reminds me of “The Deliverance” when they tell the drunk man, “All you gotta do is pray,” before they draw and quarter him with horses. This movie is like a template for every slasher flick that came after except you don’t need 2000 killers. Now you only need one maniac such as Jason, Michael Myers, or Freddy.

Scenes of mayhem and group-think among Pleasant Valley’s inhabitants recall lynchings of America’s past but there are no black actors in this film. The white Northerners are getting lynched this time and depending on your background it feels either terrifying or liberating. I was terrified.

The hitchhiker character tries to reason with the dumbfounded white northern female and it recalls every movie where a man tries to rationalize and rescue a woman.

Finally, when they escape the town their tracks are covered by brush and the events are like a Twilight Zone episode. The people of Pleasant Valley had been ghosts the whole time. They hold these parades every 100 years to capture 6 Northerners. We wonder if in 2065 there will be another event. Another lynching. Another 2000 maniacs to inflict horror on unsuspecting Northerners. Maybe a rocket ship will be in the town square. The programming committee needs to get busy.

The whole thing reminds me of a mindset that persists among certain people today. It’s as if no matter how many years goes by, no matter how many social or technical advancements, there will always be an infected dead lingering infestation of resentment, racism and classism that will destroy everything that is good. It’s like they rise from quicksand and continue to wreak havoc from dead rotting history. Forever.

5 stars

1 Like

I’m a connoisseur of horror films - it’s my favorite genre. But I won’t watch Cannibal Holocaust, or indeed any number of Italian horror films of the 70s and 80s. The real - not simulated - animal cruelty that almost always shows up somewhere in these films (especially in CH) makes me nope the fuck out.

1 Like