Heidi, a radio DJ, is sent a box containing a record - a "gift from the Lords". The sounds within the grooves trigger flashbacks of her town's violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the Lords back to take revenge on Salem, Massachusetts?
Sheri Moon Zombie,
Five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage in an abandoned, Hell-like compound where they are forced to participate in a violent game, the goal of which is to survive twelve hours against a gang of sadistic clowns.
Jeff Daniel Phillips
In "House of 1000 Corpses", two young couples take a misguided tour onto the back roads of America in search of a local legend known as Dr. Satan. Lost and stranded, they are set upon by a bizarre family of psychotics. Murder, cannibalism and satanic rituals are just a few of the 1000+ horrors that await. Written by
Universal Pictures (original production company) refused to release the film, believing it would be given an "NC-17" rating by the MPAA. See more »
The TV announcer pronounces Dr. Wolfenstein's name "Wolfen-STEEN". Dr. Wolfenstein pronounces it himself "Wolfen-STINE". See more »
Attention boils and ghouls, it's time for Dr. Wolfenstein's Creature Feature Show.
Ah! The doctor is in! Don't scream, don't move. Stay tuned for channel 68's Halloween Eve movie marathon! I'm your host, your ghost ghost, with the most, Dr. Wolfenstein! I will be with you until the end!
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After the last scene, the words "The End?" are shown. See more »
Now, let's not get carried away here: is this the best horror flick ever? Not that I've seen. Does it sometimes trip over the fine line between scares and laughs? Sure. Will it remind people of certain other movies? Probably. But bottom line, is this movie a blast? Absolutely.
Writer/director Rob Zombie's music has always had a kind of comic book/horror movie sensibility which he translates into his screen project, a tribute to the pioneering take-no-prisoners classics of the 1970's like "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," in fact a prominent role is played by Bill Moseley of "TCM II." We're informed at the outset that it's Halloween Eve 1977 in some one-horse town in an unspecified region of the country (which of course allows each actor to use any accent he or she likes, even within the same household). The chief attraction of this town seems to be a "horror museum" run by a Captain Spaulding (who bears no resemblance to Groucho Marx) played by veteran B-movie stalwart Sid Haig, whom I recall from way the hell back in "Busting" as the big menacing bald guy. He's still big and bald but not so much menacing as jovially deranged with undercurrents of menace (and lots of make-up). After a delightfully overwritten robbery sequence involving a couple of local yokels, four fresh-faced young people with one foot in the grave show up at the museum, setting in motion a series of unpleasant events.
No particular reason to dwell on the plot, especially if you've seen "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and/or it's sequels. It's the tried-and-true damsels (and their boyfriends) in distress. (We even get a pack of cheerleaders thrown in as a bonus. Apparently people have been going missing in this town but back in the Seventies the term "serial killer" was waiting to be invented, so no squads of Feds and profilers have arrived.) For movies like this to work, the actors have to be on the same page in tone; aside from Haig and Moseley I barely knew anyone except Walt Goggins from TV's "The Shield" and of course Karen Black, whose performance is the only one that doesn't quite click. It's like she's playing a whack job where the others are just being whack jobs. (But if they ever wanted to remake "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," there's your girl!) In terms of direction, Zombie takes a kind of kitchen-sink approach; some of it reminded me of Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" and others of that ilk, with the eye-blink jumping to and from videotape, color variations, flashback and/or fantasy, etc. Some of the editing's a little too jumbled in the modern trend of trying to obscure what's happening, although not to the "Darkness Falls" degree of complete chaos. (I'm old-fashioned, I still think the best way to scare you with something in a movie is just train the camera on it so you can see it coming at you with no way to escape.) But Mr. Zombie has a nice feel for where to put the camera and how to move a scene along. Some of his sequences have a kind of sinister poetry to them, like when the two deputies go checking out the homestead from hell, the kind of setup we've seen in how many shlock items (I just saw one in a recent victim of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew) but in this case Zombie replaces all sound with a Slim Whitman tune (we recall how Whitman's voice was enough to slay big-brained Martians a while back) and holds the final crane shot an audaciously long time. Then once the coffin gets lowered into the water towards the end, "House" kicks into overdrive and from then on if there's nothing in the movie that spooks you, then maybe you're unspookable. I know a lot of that imagery will be lingering with me for a while, such as Fish Boy.....
Ordinarily I try to ignore a movie's external circumstances and go by what's on the screen in front of me but in this case it's pointless to pretend this movie has not been in limbo for three years due to it's supposedly violent content. I've read it had to be cut to make the R rating, although I really can't see how an NC-17 would've hurt it; people will go see it partly because it's by Rob Zombie and it's said to be gory and for those put off by such factors, an R rating won't make them less put off. "Hey, honey, it's an R now--forget the babysitter, let's bring the kids!" I've also read Zombie was satisfied with the released version. As released, there's really nothing there you haven't seen before in some form or other; some gore fans may even feel let down, but of course there's always the DVD. I think that had it been released as made three years ago without all the hype, with the chance to "sneak up on" us, it would've been even more effective. But maybe that's what the studio feared? Well, Mr. Movie Mogul, if you're going to commission the guy from White Zombie to do a horror flick, what exactly do you anticipate as a result? Please either defecate or get off the toilet....
Hard to nail down a favorite moment with this one, but it's hard to resist picking the youngsters getting abused in their bunny suits. It's visually striking, it's unusual, it's blackly funny and also somewhat unsettling the more you think about it. When we watch a horror flick, what exactly are we anticipating? Is the one-sided nature of the conflict (overwhelming villain, hapless or helpless victim) part of the appeal for us? Do we "identify with" the chaser or the chasee? Should we feel a little ashamed of ourselves afterwards? Or, as Captain Spaulding put it, are these just a bunch of jack-ass questions?
Great soundtrack, I may have to buy it....
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