Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)

Written & Directed by: Herscell Gordon Lewis


William Kerwin .... Tom White
Connie Mason .... Terry Adams
Jeffrey Allen .... Mayor Buckman
Ben Moore .... Lester MacDonald
Gary Bakeman .... Rufus Tate
Jerome Eden .... John Miller
Shelby Livingston .... Bea Miller
Michael Korb .... David Wells
Yvonne Gilbert .... Beverly Wells
Mark Douglas .... Harper Alexander
Linda Cochran .... Betsy

Release Date: Theatrical: March 20, 1964

*Images courtesy at:





Six Yankee tourists are tricked going on a detour to a small Deep South town for a Centennial celebration and are welcomed by a bunch of hillbilly's as well as a mayor named Buckman (Jeffrey Allen) and are the guests of honor at their hotel room for a few days of great events.
However, one of the people named Tom White (William Kerwin) who hitched a ride to travel to Florida with a woman named Terry Adams (Connie Mason) is finding this all too strange to be true yet Terry herself thinks that it is luxurious.
A different event happens for each tourist as one of them named Bea Miller (Shelby Livingston) is having a troubled marriage and thinks that she is romantically linked to one of the locals named Harper Alexander (Mark Douglas) but he cuts off her thumb and then takes her back to Mayor Buckman's room where his henchmen holds her down and then chops off her arm for a bonfire roast.
Then each event with the other guests they end up being slaughtered one by one with deadly activities like a man being torn up while tied up to horses as they run in different directions, another is in a barrell of nails rolling down a cliff and a woman has a boulder fallen on her at a target practice ceremony.
Tom finds out that these people are all doing this
as a revenge for the town's destruction during the Civil War and both Tom and Terry tries to escape before it's their next turn to be killed.


The flick seems to start off quite slapstick and corny with some dorky characters having a detour sign to attract new people to their deadly town. Hersell Gordon Lewis offers alot of shocking moments for this film.
Then with some people driving into the town it sure draws some mysterious moments with all the locals gathering towards the main characters as well as Mayor Buckman greeting them which all of this seemed to be way too friendly here which was a nice pointer here knowing that these people have evil dark secrets but seem deceivingly decent.
We have almost a romantic moment with the character Bea and the local hillbilly local Harper Alexander in the woods together and tells her to feel the blade on his pocket knife as you have a feeling something bad is going to happen and it does. The results here were not pretty and it sure looked intense when this freak was acting crazy by what he was doing here.
There's are real and great disturbing shots with Harper holding her down on a table along with one of the goons Rufus Tate and Lester MacDonald holding an axe about to swing it on her as all of this really makes you cringe imagining the torture of this poor woman.
There's a good dialogue sequences with the character Tom White questioning his invitation to the village and his woman Terry Adams just being passive about what's going on thinking they are being treated well.
There's a great setting at night with a bonfire and the chopped off arm being roasted with The Pleasant Valley Boys playing music and the locals clapping along as it looked too decent and harmless like but yet twisted and insane with what they are celebrating about after killing someone for their arm.
One of the locals Betsy drew attention here by flirting with the character John Miller being drunk and all and falling asleep at the bonfire as this seems to be a nice pointer here that there's going to be deadly plans for this person next.
There's good shots on people dragging this character to some horses and having his arms and legs tied up along with what will happen to him which is not for people who have a hard time dealing with horror violence, torture or even the awful ways on getting killed here.
Another perfect moment is when both Tom and Terry are away from the bonfire and Tom showing her a stonehenge of why the events are happening and him telling her what they plan to do to them which sends a bit of a chill down your spine as well as them trying to get away and we spot a few locals following them with flashlights it really makes you feel like you're in this situation and wondering if you can save your own life from all of this.
Good shots on the locals suddenly being silent with expressionless looks after a slaughter has happened in which drew in well to the twisted story.
There's great concerns with both David Wells and his wife Beverly the next morning in their hotel of what's going on and things are starting to become very strange as to why some of the guests there have disappeared as this leaves an impression that they will be the next vicitms here which often so happens in a horror flick especially a splatter/slasher one.
A nice and intense moment with Mayor Buckman and David having a discussion as Buckman was good at trying to manipulate David by crawling into a barrell they plan to roll down a hill along with nice forceful moments here when he doesn't want to along with good close up shots on Buckman hammering in some nails to the barrell. THis for sure makes things hard to watch as this already leaves an impression that it will be a killing device in which everyone involved is having a good time watching. Without a doubt it's certainly twisted along with the black comedy used in this scenario.
Nice spinning shots of the camera with the barrell and nails with poor David inside it screaming to death. The results weren't pretty but yet if you love old fashioned splatter films you will get a joy out of this.
Then we get into the heavier deadly moments with Beverly is forced to being tied down where there's a big boulder above her waiting to drop and Buckman tells her about their next event which has to do with a boulder dropping down if someone hits a target by a softball as she tries so hard to convince him not to use her in which all of this looked incredibly disturbing to watch especially when Buckman manipulates her to say what he wants her to say whenever someone misses by hitting the target. When the terrifying moment happens here it is for sure shocking. One of the creepiest scene's in the film for sure.
A great moment with Tom and Terry ruinning away and Harper chasing after them in which you wonder if they will get away since this looked suspenseful to watch.
A nice shot on Douglas sinking in quicksand.
There's also good moments with Tom and Terry trying to convince a demanted child Billy to find their car by bribing him as in which he acts hard headed while the locals are about to catch them soon as this keeps you in suspense wondering if they will make their vehicle and drive like hell out of that town this was a good one.
Close to the end of the film seemed very strange when they bring the county sheriff to the area which is nothing but swampy fields but the story explains itself with this moment as to why the madness has happened in the town that was there.
Bottom line is that it was a
well done film by goremaster Herschell Gordon Lewis although at the same time it was sick, stupid and pointless too but of course most of his films are as he brought you the cult flicks Blood Feast and Wizard of Gore. However, there are great performances in the film.
I saw clips of this film on the compilation of nearly obscure gory horror films titled Terror on Tape and had to check it out as it looked bizarre and bizarre it was.
This was probably the first splatter film and quite controversial too. It does look like a good old fashioned drive in cult horror flick but with gore too.
Plus it does make you every right to be afraid of rednecks while watching this film too of the evil deeds they do to celebrate their event.

The acting was good for it's time as William Kerwin (Tom White) seems charming with his performance as a confused traveller that got a lift from a woman trying to find clues to why they were invited to a ceremony. He shows off his actions quite well. Yet he can seem a little too rough with his serious attitude but not terrible by any means. He also knew on how to act romantic which was a perfect pointer for him. He was also very strong with his manipulations later on in the story which looked powerful.
Connie Mason
(Terry Adams) is impressive as a laid back one that gave him a lift and seems to breeze through well in the film. She shows nice concerns as well as having a good mellow behavior in her role. She shows a nice character with what she does here. She also does well acting nervous about stuff but not freaking out which also shows off nicely whenever she perfomed like this.
Jeffrey Allen
(Mayor Buckman) was quite a character with his part as a demented mayor adding dark humor to his part and acting like a fruitcake. He really knew on how to act too friendly as well as having a larger than life behavior to top it off without getting serious about this too. He also knew on how to act forceful when the terrors occured in which he really studied this part inside out.
Shelby Livingston
(Bea Miller) seems to do okay in her part even if it wasn't big as she does well with her suspecting stuff being too easy and draws this in nicely. She also knew on how to act peaceful too in certain spots. Plus she really drove her intensity perfectly whenever she was tortured in which this looked perfectly done and drove out everything that she had within all of this.
Yvonne Gilbert
(Beverly Gilbert) shows a good calmness and passive type of behavior in which she seemed to draw all of this in very well. SHe also knew on how to have a perfect frightened attitude too when she needed to behave like this along with a perfect emotional freaked out attitude too choking out her words when the terror hits her big time. I just found that she was pretty effective in her role and knew on how to really be that type of person.
Mark Douglas
(Harper Alexander) seemed nice with his part acting deceivingly outgoing and innocent but when it comes down to the point really knew how to act crazy. He showed a perfect hyperactive behavior along with a great energetic laughing behavior too. Also he was great by acting rough and knew on how to do some powerful blocking to top it all off. Plus he was also convincing with his charming behavior. Also he had the perfect masculine guy next door type of looks which was a good bonus here.
Linda Cochran
(Betsy) was someone else who stood out well as a flirtatious one in the village as she seems too easy that she's quite dangerous to be around which she knew how to do inside out.
Also she had a screechy type of speaking which worked in well making her quite eccentric and mysterious. She also knew on how to change her tone of voice when a deadly moment is about to occur and showing perfect timing on this too.

Lots of bloody gore.
A woman's thumb is cut off and badly bloodied
A woman's arm is chopped off
A man's body is torn apart while being tied up and horses are running in different directions that the ropes are attached to.
A man is slaughtered in a barrell with nails in it while the barrel is rolling down a hill showing plenty of blood
A woman has a huge boulder dropped on her showing the bloody results.

We have some good organ playing and banjo music too composed by Larry Wellington as he puts alot into the film. The organ music for it's time seemed suitable in the film having an old fashioned haunting type of vibe towards it all. Plus there's the odd twanging sound which makes the scene's effective as well as some nice flute playing too bringing the score to life with all of this involved here.

There's also country banjo songtracks performed by The Pleasant Valley Boys most remembered with their annoying tune "Old Joe Clark"

Tom White: Has it occurred to you that nobody has told us what this centennial is all about? Now, this is 1965, and a hundred years ago it was 1865, right? So, what happened in 1865?
Terry Adams: It was the ending of Civil War. The war between states!
Tom White: Well then you tell me why would a southern town want northerners as guests of honor at the centennial. It must has something to do with what happened a hundred years ago. So, something is very wrong with this town.

[Upon finding the plaque that explains the town was attacked by Union Soldiers during the Civil War]
Terry Adams: What does it mean?
Tom White: It means this centennial is a centennial of blood vengeance! It means... It means we're here to be killed!

Billy: I didn't get my candy!!!!

Tom White: Look, officer, I don't know how to convince you of this, but... we're not crazy!
Policeman: Mister, I didn't say you was crazy. Nothing like that, I just think it's mighty peculiar!