A long time ago, in a video store far far away…..
There was this video store called Paffi’s that my older sister and brother-in-law went to all the time. They were one of the few BETAMAX owners and Paffi’s was, I believe, the only BETA tape rental store in town. They also rented VHS which prompted my sis to let us have a free rental on her account. Not unusual back then because every video store was reaching out to new customers and a free rental gave you a chance to browse their shelves and possibly become a regular. It was at this video store that I came across one of the most infamous splatter flicks of the horror genre.
2000 Maniacs (1964) is the second installment in H.G. Lewis’ famed “blood trilogy” which began with Blood Feast (1963) and ended with Color Me Blood Red (1965). Cinematic masterpiece, no, video shelf eye catcher, yes!! I vividly remember seeing this title on the shelf. Its spine facing outward but it was at the end of the row so I saw the front first. The sight of the close up of a woman’s face with blood pouring from her mouth and dead eyes staring into nothingness pretty much stopped me in my tracks. When asked if we could rent this one, my mom responded with a resounding “No”.
With this box, you don’t really have a drawn cover. The still shot with the title superimposed over it does the trick. This was the way Comet Video presented their product. You also have to love the review quotes on the box as well. “Far more entertaining than anything John Carpenter and John Landis has directed” – Heavy Metal Magazine, Really? Are you sure you meant to say that about this movie? Just like any H.G. Lewis movie, this one is extremely low budget and not very well acted. It’s like watching a splatter version of F Troop. Still a lot of fun though.
If the front of the box isn’t gruesome enough, the fine folks at Comet Video decided to add a few still shots from the movie on the back of the box. Interestingly they chose to show the before and after of two actresses in the movie. One gets her arm hacked off and the other, well we aren’t sure what happened to her but she is covered in blood so it must have been pretty nasty! It’s enough to warrant a rental in any case. Also notice the 70 minute run time on this one. Are you kidding me? 70 minutes is all Lewis could milk out of the storyline? Oh but wait! What’s that last bit of the synopsis in bold print? “A PARTY FAVORITE”, ohhhh well there ya have it! A must rent from the shelves of Paffi’s!