Laissez-faire since 1996

A taste for Southern justice

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When I was in college I had a fraternity brother from Tennessee, nicknamed "Mutt," who proudly claimed to all "the South shall rise again!" When doing government work in south Georgia I remember being in a bookstore whose offerings leaned toward Southern pride. In particular I remember one book whose title was, indeed, "The South Shall Rise Again." I've always had an affinity for American history, and the Civil War in particular, so I admittedly see these kinds of things with a tinge of fascination and amusement, while not intending to belittle them in any way. I'm always for pride and heritage as long as one's pride and heritage don't infringe on the pride and heritage of others. After all, America is called the melting pot for a reason.

Still, it was with some glee we watched a film called 2001 Maniacs, about one Southern town's retribution for Yankee offenses, and starring none other than Robert "Freddy" Englund. Iconic as he is in the role as Freddy, some of his other work has been less than, um, successful. (However, as a kid, I particularly liked him in V.) But here he was absolutely perfect in the role of the "Southern gentleman"-ly — if deranged — mayor (and bearing an uncanny resemblence to Colonel Sanders — if only his suit were white!) and patriarch.

Having never seen the original film Two Thousand Maniacs!, I can't make any comparisons between the two; I can only comment on what I've just seen. And I liked what I just saw.

Well, yeah. I mean, this is T&A in all it's unashamed glory. This is unapologetic exploitation and gore sprinkled with a liberal dose of comedy and groaning one-liners. This is as un-PC as it gets (gays and blacks fall victim, but that's okay, so do the heterosexuals, whites and — oh, yeah — asians). But this is done for comedic effect and really doesn't come across as offensive.

(Don't get me started anyway on people who look for reasons to be offended.)

While the story is thin, character development nonexistant and directing mere adequate, this movie succeeds for its self-delight in blood, guts and mutiliation. While not as tense and gripping as, say, Hostel, its doesn't aspire or to try to be (although Eli Roth produces and cameos here). It's simply a movie that's a fun throwback to the explotation horror films of the 70s, and an entertaining way to spend a blustery afternoon.

Still, if you come across a detour sign while driving through the deep South, my advice is to just turn around.