Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 2000 Maniacs has taken on a new odiousness since 2016. That’s right. TRUMP and the re-mainstreaming of white racism and Confederate Pride.
Is that a fair reading? Well, the horror of this movie, beyond the torture and gore, is the supposed fear Northerner’s have of the South rising again.
The idea of Southern revenge for the crimes of the Northern Aggression is a well worn trope in the Lost Cause narrative. An idea drummed home by the scariest, most horrific scenes in this movie – the folk singing trio, Pleasant Valley Boys’ awful singing. SHUDDER.
Again, the trope hicks torturing and killing uppity, sinful, and waaay too sexy northerners has become a cliche’ at this point. So much so that the over the top yelling performances of the town folk, the mayor, and the bumbling greasy baseball cap nincompoops is more annoying than humorous. Its frightening in its tone deaf offensiveness.
Ghosts of the Confederate Dead are very hard to sympathize with, but that is kinda the point. The movie casts them as a town of loonies intent on gruesome revenge. And just like Gordon Lewis’ other splatterfests, the plot gets in the way of the gore. In fact, these movies are structured just like old time porno theater porns – there is a plot but all of it is over the top filler for the special effects gore scenes. Those scenes are less effective than say BLOOD FEAST, in part because the movie had a bigger budget for the non-gore scenes.
It seems odd that such a racist loving gore porn would serve as the titular inspiration for the soft rock indie band, 10,000 Maniacs.