Glenor Glenda, our maid, was upside down. Rather, her face was upside down. Or maybe I was upside down. I couldn't tell much through the foggy haze. Suddenly her face changed to Saw's Billy the Puppet's upside down face, leering at me with with those cold, unblinking eyes. I closed my eyes wishing him to go away.
"Good lord, now what?" I heard Zombos say.
"He passed out," she frantically said. "I think he was watching Two Thousand Maniacs! when he fainted."
"Here, then, give me the smelling salts. And stop bending over him like that. Give him some air."
I opened my eyes. Zombos' face was upside down now, leering at me with its stern, accusatory eyes. I wished him to go away.
"You ninny," he said, holding the smelling salts under my nose. "Don't know why you insist on putting yourself through these exercises in self-punishment. If you don't want to see Saw IV, then just don't see it."
He helped me to my feet, though I was still a bit wobbly. "I thought if I prepared myself by watching one of the earliest gore films it would help desensitize me. I have a responsibility to our readers," I explained.
"Oh, I think the five of them really don't want to see Saw IV, either," joked Zombos. At least I hope he was joking. "How far did you get into Herschell Gordon Lewis' Two Thousand Maniacs?"
"The axe scene. When she got her thumb cut off I started getting woozy. The axe scene did me in after that." I sipped the glass of Glen Caren Glenor handed to me. There's nothing like a vatted malt whiskey to bring back the color in your cheeks; bright red color, like the color of freshly spilled blood.
And there's lots of bright 1960's-colored blood in Two Thousand Maniacs!, the second film in the Godfather of Gore's blood trilogy that ushered in the splatter-horror genre to an eager drive-in movie audience. Dipping once too often into the nudie-cutie and exploitation well, Lewis and his partner David Friedman searched for their next commercial gusher. They found it in colorized gore, delivered with manic glee, cheap setups, and lingering eyefuls.
Perhaps it's the gleefully sadistic way in which the Brigadoon-like southern townspeople of Pleasant Valley go about torturing and killing the slow-to-grasp-the-situation northerners, or maybe it's the hokey acting and poor direction slamming against the energetically strummed banjo songs, sung by the strolling bluegrass trio as the entire town celebrates its revenge-filled centennial. Whatever the reasons, the film is still a wild southern fried terror ride that revels in its nastiness while cheekily grinning from ear to ear. The gore is mild compared to today's more graphic, mechanically-oriented, dismembering and mashing appliances, but a simple knife, or axe, or sharply nailed barrel always provides a homey touch of stark horror whimsy to any victimization.