The big new release of the week is Tim Sullivan's follow-up to his 2001 film, 2001 Maniacs. The sequel, dubbed 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, hits DVD this week in both R-rated and Unrated editions. Releasing an R-rated version makes a certain amount of sense; mostly it's done so that Blockbuster will carry your title, as they have a policy not to carry unrated films. But with Redbox and Netflix dominating the rental market, and Hollywood and Blockbuster brick-and-mortar stores closing left and right, it seems like the R-rated version of a direct-to-video horror film will soon become a thing of the past.
For those who are unaware, H.G. Lewis, often referred to as "the godfather of gore," released 2000 Maniacs, his violent twist on southern hospitality, way back in 1964. The story was a pretty simple one. Three couples from the North are enjoying a pleasant ride through the Southern countryside when they are deviously detoured to the small town of Pleasant Valley where the residents are putting on a grand celebration for the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. It turns out that the main attractions involve murdering and torturing the unsuspecting Yankees. Lewis' original film is highly entertaining if not exactly good, with some amazingly inventive kills, especially for the time.
Then along came Tim Sullivan, who decided that 2000 Maniacs was ripe for remaking. He did just that, and cast horror legend Robert Englund in 2001 Maniacs. The film is a pretty straight-forward remake of Lewis' film utilizing the same Civil War plot. I can't say anyone was really chomping at the bit for another installment, but why let that stop you? Sullivan sure didn't, and here comes 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams to prove it. This one sees our backwoods crew taking their show on the road and getting into some bloody mayhem up in Iowa. It may be good, it may be bad, but either way it's nice to see that low-budget horror can still make it to shelves, literal or virtual.
Also on tap for this week are two new entries in Shout! Factory's burgeoning Roger Corman Collection. Joining the previously released Rock 'N' Roll High School and Death Race 2000 are Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World. Both come in either DVD or Blu-ray flavors, packed with special features. The Galaxy of Terror release includes features on every aspect of production, from the actors, to the set design all the way through to music composing and post-production, in addition to the traditional audio commentaries. Forbidden World is no slouch either, with an audio commentary, interviews with Corman as well as the cast and crew and a look at the special features created for the film. Both discs would look great in any Corman fan's collection.
The future is bright for Shout! Factory's Corman series, with titles like Star Crash, Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep on the horizon. As if the lore of the Corman titles wasn't enough on it's own, Shout! keeps churning out quality, feature-packed releases like the ones this week, quickly becoming must-buy's for even the most frugal of genre collectors.
We'll be back next week with a look at the horror releases for July 27th!