2,000 Maniacs! (1964)

88 mins | Horror | 1 October 1964

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HISTORY

According to the 3 Aug 1964 DV, the film was banned in Chicago, IL, where it was also produced. The ban, imposed by the local police department, was upheld by the Chicago Motion Picture Appeals Board, which denounced the film’s excessive violence. It was reportedly unusual for the board to deny an appeal.
       Two days later, Var revealed that filmmaker Herschell G. Lewis was suing partners David F. Friedman and Stanford S. Kohlberg for monies owed on their current releases, plus $300,000 he was allegedly owed for a thirty-picture contract. Friedman continued to assist Kohlberg in distributing their catalog, while Lewis completed an independent production. On 1 Sep 1964, DV noted that Kohlberg planned to use 2,000 Maniacs as a test case to challenge Chicago’s “patchwork” censorship laws. Attorneys had thirty-five days to appeal the ban to the Illinois Supreme Court.
       The 15 Feb 1967 Var reported that Kohlberg held a meeting two months earlier on the hood of a car in Golden Beach, FL, to settle a dispute over rentals of 2,000 Maniacs and four other pictures, totaling $400,000. One of the attendees, Sidney Reich, later filed suit against Kohlberg and his ex-wife, Jacqueline, claiming the couple mismanaged proceeds from the pictures for their own benefit.
       The film opened 1 Oct 1964 in Denver, CO, as indicated by 7 Oct 1964 Var box office reports. Other openings followed in Detroit, MI (4 Nov 1964 Var), Baltimore, MD (4 Aug 1965 Var), and Los Angeles, CA (16 ... More Less

According to the 3 Aug 1964 DV, the film was banned in Chicago, IL, where it was also produced. The ban, imposed by the local police department, was upheld by the Chicago Motion Picture Appeals Board, which denounced the film’s excessive violence. It was reportedly unusual for the board to deny an appeal.
       Two days later, Var revealed that filmmaker Herschell G. Lewis was suing partners David F. Friedman and Stanford S. Kohlberg for monies owed on their current releases, plus $300,000 he was allegedly owed for a thirty-picture contract. Friedman continued to assist Kohlberg in distributing their catalog, while Lewis completed an independent production. On 1 Sep 1964, DV noted that Kohlberg planned to use 2,000 Maniacs as a test case to challenge Chicago’s “patchwork” censorship laws. Attorneys had thirty-five days to appeal the ban to the Illinois Supreme Court.
       The 15 Feb 1967 Var reported that Kohlberg held a meeting two months earlier on the hood of a car in Golden Beach, FL, to settle a dispute over rentals of 2,000 Maniacs and four other pictures, totaling $400,000. One of the attendees, Sidney Reich, later filed suit against Kohlberg and his ex-wife, Jacqueline, claiming the couple mismanaged proceeds from the pictures for their own benefit.
       The film opened 1 Oct 1964 in Denver, CO, as indicated by 7 Oct 1964 Var box office reports. Other openings followed in Detroit, MI (4 Nov 1964 Var), Baltimore, MD (4 Aug 1965 Var), and Los Angeles, CA (16 Feb 1966 LAT). According to the 3 Mar 1970 DV, 2,000 Maniacs made its Chicago debut several days earlier.
       Various sources state that some filming took place in St. Cloud, FL. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
1 Sep 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
16 Feb 1966
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
3 Apr 1968
Section C, p. 15.
Variety
5 Aug 1964
p. 24.
Variety
7 Oct 1964
p. 8.
Variety
4 Nov 1964
p. 8.
Variety
4 Aug 1965
p. 10.
Variety
15 Feb 1967
p. 11.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 October 1964
Premiere Information:
Denver, CO, opening: 1 October 1964
Los Angeles opening: 16 February 1966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastmancolor
Duration(in mins):
88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Two vacationing Illinois couples, John and Bea Miller and David and Beverly Wells, follow a detour down a backwoods road in a southern state. Terry Adams, a wealthy playgirl from Pennsylvania, drives down the same road, accompanied by schoolteacher Tom White. The cars arrive in the secluded hamlet of Pleasant Valley (pop. 2,000) where the townspeople are celebrating a centennial. Confederate flags are flying everywhere. Mayor Earl Buckman and centennial co-chairmen Lester and Rufe insist that the six Northerners remain as guests of the town. Bea is taken by a local tough, Harper, into the woods where he cuts off her finger. He then takes her to Buckman's office where she is held down by several Confederates and murdered with an ax. Bea's husband John, escorted by a local belle, Betsy, becomes so drunk that he does not notice his wife's absence. That evening, he is executed at a town barbecue. Meanwhile, Terry and John discover a memorial plaque revealing that 100 years before, the town's citizens had been massacred by renegade Union troops. The next day David Wells is murdered by a mob of townspeople, and Beverly is crushed to death by a huge boulder while a crowd cheers. Terry and John run from the town, pursued by Harper, who falls into a pit of quicksand and dies. A local boy, Billy, divulges the hiding place of their car, and they make their escape, using Billy as a hostage. Later, they return with the incredulous police, who can find no trace of the road, the detour, or even the town. The police inform the Northerners that Pleasant Valley was wiped out during the Civil War. Back in Pleasant ... +


Two vacationing Illinois couples, John and Bea Miller and David and Beverly Wells, follow a detour down a backwoods road in a southern state. Terry Adams, a wealthy playgirl from Pennsylvania, drives down the same road, accompanied by schoolteacher Tom White. The cars arrive in the secluded hamlet of Pleasant Valley (pop. 2,000) where the townspeople are celebrating a centennial. Confederate flags are flying everywhere. Mayor Earl Buckman and centennial co-chairmen Lester and Rufe insist that the six Northerners remain as guests of the town. Bea is taken by a local tough, Harper, into the woods where he cuts off her finger. He then takes her to Buckman's office where she is held down by several Confederates and murdered with an ax. Bea's husband John, escorted by a local belle, Betsy, becomes so drunk that he does not notice his wife's absence. That evening, he is executed at a town barbecue. Meanwhile, Terry and John discover a memorial plaque revealing that 100 years before, the town's citizens had been massacred by renegade Union troops. The next day David Wells is murdered by a mob of townspeople, and Beverly is crushed to death by a huge boulder while a crowd cheers. Terry and John run from the town, pursued by Harper, who falls into a pit of quicksand and dies. A local boy, Billy, divulges the hiding place of their car, and they make their escape, using Billy as a hostage. Later, they return with the incredulous police, who can find no trace of the road, the detour, or even the town. The police inform the Northerners that Pleasant Valley was wiped out during the Civil War. Back in Pleasant Valley, the decorations come down and the citizens begin to dismantle the celebration trappings, while Rufe and Lester discuss plans for the next centennial, to be held in 2065. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.