During the American Civil War a town of 2001 Confederate villagers were murdered by Union troops. Now every year they return from the grave to lure unsuspecting Northerners to their ‘Guts and Glory Jubilee’ event & kill them. They can’t rest until they have paid back the crime…2001 souls…an eye for an eye.
2 different & equally uninspired groups of college students end up at Pleasant Valley after following a detour sign while on their way to Spring Break at Daytona Beach. They are shortly joined by a biker couple who make an instant stir in the ‘out of time’ town by the colour of their skin.
They are warmly greeted by the townspeople & pressed to stay to enjoy the upcoming celebrations. Initially unsure they agree to stay based on good old fashioned horniness & stupidity. Seriously, the film might be tongue in cheek but it’s stretching it when the victims of racism decide to stay as well ‘cause…fuck it, who cares? They will dead soon enough anyway.
Sure they think they are part of a re-enactment & the mayor is very convincing (played by the always excellent Robert Englund) but it just doesn’t sit right especially when the death toll begins to increase.
What happens over the next hour is the slow separation of characters & the inventive ways in which they die. The townspeople don’t just want to kill you, they want it to hurt. There are some really fun ones here including limbs being ripped off by bolting horses, acid moonshine, crushed to death by a giant bell & poker up the butt.
It’s all very cool & very gory…
Sadly as much as the film wants you to detach your brain it becomes far too difficult at times. You see, everyone is so stupid!
Here we go…take the constant insulting of the Southerners & their accents…why would they do this? Am I supposed to like these people or is there a chance I’m going to root for the angry ghosts!?
One girl goes off to bang one of the Southerners, lets him tie her up & only notices she has been tied to horses when he takes the blindfold off. Another dances with a group of ladies & fails to hear the lyrics clearly suggesting they hate her & mean her harm. Her head is so vacant that she makes a face as if it’s registering but still carries on.
The worst bit though involves the last few survivors who realise something is wrong, get together & suggest they watch each other’s back & then promptly split up. Seriously…
It’s frustrating but thankfully the rest of the movie makes up for it. There are so many good actors here & the way in which the townspeople become more ghoulish & evil is just so much fun to watch. Robert Englund is at his best here but some of his scenes are over-powered by poorly placed music.
There is a lot to like here & while it doesn’t quite hit the comedy-horror highs it was going for there is plenty of things that will make you smile. A no-one survives ending is the icing on the cake & I loved the final scene.
A good horror movie with great acting, lovely visuals & gore but horrible character reactions & motivations.