In 2006, writer/director Tim Sullivan surprised many fans of the horror/comedy/gore genre (does it have a more specific name?) by making a non-terrible re-imagining of H.G. Lewis’ cult classic Two Thousand Maniacs. 2001 Maniacs starred Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman and managed to toe the line between complete ridiculousness and comedic gorefest. In 2010, Sullivan’s not-so-eagerly anticipated sequel, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, managed no such feat. Utilizing a much lower budget, Sullivan sets out to up the ante and fails on most accounts, creating a poorly acted, cheap looking sequel that even fans of the genre have mostly failed to appreciate.
But where Sullivan got most creative was in choosing the music for the film. As he says in the album’s liner notes: “Without the luxury of a billion dollar Hollywood budget, we… turned to the fans – literally. Thru MySpace, FaceBook and every genre site you could name, we put out the word we were looking for tunes.” The result, says Sullivan was a huge influx of tracks from all over, including from the cast themselves. No doubt, this was a clever way to build a soundtrack, and while some of the tracks are catch, they mostly have the sound of music downloaded off someone’s MySpace page, which gives the album a cheap, under-produced feel. Similarly, the interspersing of soundbites from the film throughout the album sometimes helps remind listeners of the film itself, or sets the tone of the album, but with much of the dialogue feeling painfully forced and unfunny (ex. “Dang Oprah, you grunt louder than a churchyard chicken.”), each audio track drags the momentum of the album (a 50-track, 70 minute monstrosity) down.
But even amid the wreckage of this album’s musical (and audio) wares, there are a few enjoyable numbers. The most notable of the collection is the Bill Moseley led “Lord Let Me Help You Decide” in which Mayor Buckman himself, backed up by the bluegrass band Spider Mountain entreats God to let him help in deciding “who on Earth should live and who should die.” It’s a catchy tongue-in-cheek piece and Moseley’s vocalizations only add to it. Similarly, the intentionally over-the-top “Nottie Hottie” is catchy – auto-tuned to death and flaunting lyrics such as “OMG it’s like um I don’t know whatev,” this track by Me And My Friends understands what kind of album this is and embraces that.
The last 20 minutes of the album (aside from a final audio track in which Mayor Buckman tells someone to suck his “Dixie” – another example of the rampant cleverness in the script) is score music composed by Patrick Copeland (Hood of Horror). Although the music presented here is not the type to be considered a collection of masterpieces, it’s not too hard on the ears. Some of the tracks could use a bit of work – “The Final Reckoning” gets so repetitive at one point that it begins to sound like it’s skipping – but it’s an entertaining ride for the most part. The track “Let’s Play” exemplifies this simple playfulness, starting out as a friendly, childlike piece that flows into some plucked banjo strings and then fades into the much darker “Hide and Seek” immediately afterward – a guitar heavy mood-setter.
Overall, this album feels much too disconnected – cramming all these different genres of music together with stilted audio tracks and 20 minutes of score just doesn’t work.
Zach’s Rating: C-
Perfect For: Anyone who genuinely liked 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams enough to listen to audio clips from it
Stay Away if: You’re not already a fan – this album won’t convert you
To purchase the soundtrack to 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, visit Amazon