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In my opinion, House of 1000 Corpses is a fan movie. Fans of both the
horror genre and Rob Zombie are likely to love it. Though I do not
count myself a fan of either, I do like both at times, and I am quite
familiar with both. Those familiar with Rob Zombie are likely to be the
only ones who completely 'get' this clever little film - appreciating
its depraved sense of humor and nihilism. Zombie's themes are fairly
consistent - evil (without the usual religious connotations and
clichés), murder, sex, insanity, and stereotype "hillbillies". Zombie's
world is not a place for people who are terribly concerned with
reality, but, for Zombie himself, it seems to supply endless muse for a
prolific and interesting commercial creativity.
Two couples traveling across country and working on a book on bizarre roadside attractions stumble across a filling station / theme park run by a vaguely evil clown with a bad attitude - Captain Spaulding. Spaulding teaches them of a few local legends, including a mad surgeon who worked in a local insane asylum and came to be known as Dr. Satan for the grotesque surgical procedures he applied to mental patients in secret. They pick up a pretty blonde hitch-hiker on their way to see the tree where Dr Satan was hung, and run into some car problems, so the hitch-hiker invites them to her family house. The family, apparently headed by the phenomenally weird Karen Black, makes The Addams family look like the Brady Bunch.
My narrative has described the first 20 minutes or so of the film, and at this point the film, much like RZ's songs, is so campy that it seems a straightforward horror comedy. However, once our protagonists are in "the house", the plot takes a decidedly more sinister spin, and never lets up from that point forward.
This film successfully and entertainingly portrays all of RZ's themes in about the same proportions as his music. Of them all, sex is the least explored, and I, for one, am thankful for that. The film also walks a delicate line between Hannibal Lector grotesque art realism and supernatural forces. For example, at one point, one of the bad guys turns on a cassette player with low batteries so that the voice recorded on it sounds extra-satanic.
If you have problems with blood and other bodily fluids, and utterly repulsive surgically induced variations on the human body, you might want to avoid this film. If you don't have any great objections to standard hardcore horror imagery, or if you like it, you might want to see this. It is masterfully visualized and does a much better job of making horror into art than the standard Hollywood horror fair. This is Rob Zombie's art, and he does it much better than most. This first major effort in film bodes well for his future use of the medium, and I will look forward to his next.
Its sad that a film as wonderfully made as this is so grossly
Let me say this right off that bat. If you're idea of a horror film is I know What You Did Last Summer and you consider Scream and The Exorcist to be the most shocking films ever made, this is not a film for you. If you havent seen I Spit on Your Grave, Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead or Last House on the Left, this is not a film for you. If you've never listened to "Living Dead Girl" or "Superbeast" this is not a film for you.
Now having said that, this is a film for me. It is a film for true horror fans, the kind that stay up and watch Dawn of the Dead and The Beyond, who know who Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento and George Romero are. This is a film that was meant to be seen by people like this and will only be enjoyed by people like this. This is not exactly mainstream stuff here. Only a small percentage of people enjoy this stuff, and for those people, this film is a true rivival of classic exploitive horror.
Rob Zombie has created a homage to 1970's exploitation/horror films, and he has been extremly successful in achieving that goal. The film borrows largely from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left, with his own little bits of original demential thrown in and an assortment of other horror film references. The film tells the tale of four teenagers who are terrorized and tortured by a bizarre southern family living in a remote farmhouse in 1977. The film uses all sorts of camera tricks--negative colouring, split-screens and seemingly random inserts of grainy snuff-like footage of various S&M and gore images; the off-the-wall effect is similar to what Oliver Stone did in Natural Born Killers. The film is not about plot, or about characters. Its purpose is to shock and disturb, to serve no other function than to entertain through exploitation and disgusting and bizarre violence. Just as you think the limits of weirdness are approaching, Zombie takes the film a step farther, and before long you surrender yourself to the mercy of the film and just accept things for what they are. The film has the feeling of an out of control freight train being piloted by a madman and the climax of the film is truly bizarre. The reviewers who wrote the film off as overly-sadistic with little in the ways of character development, plot or suspence have come to see a different kind of film, perhaps more at home with titles like The Sixth Sense or Silence of the Lambs. The have no busineness debasing a great film like this.
Rob Zombie has created a film that is both a homage and derivative at the same time; most things in the film have been done before, in one shape or another, and the level of gore is a fraction of what was intended, due to its shameful R-rating. To see the inevitable Unrated Directors Cut on video is going to be a true horror experience.
But this film is something has hasnt been seen in decades and it has been made with the utmost care that only a true horror fan could provide. It is a film made by horror fans for horror fans, a true labor of love by Mr. Zombie, despite some flaws. If you arent sitting the theater going "hey, theres Bill Mosely from TCM 2!" or "hey, that shot is a homage to the cover of Evil Dead!" or "hey, he wears peoples skin like Leatherface!" then you probably arent meant to be seeing this film. But for those who are, the film is a true gem and a rarity; it is a kind of film that hasnt been seen on the screens in over twenty years and probably wont be for another twenty years. Get out there and enjoy this rare experience while you still can.
An instant cult-hit.
For true horror fans only. Everyone else just wont get it.
I love that line! I remember hearing that line in a cool trailer I saw
while watching "Urban Legend 2". Obviously, this was a way better
Besides "Scream," and "Funny Games," this is the best horror film in the
past 15 years!!! We wanted blood, and we got it!!! Whoa, that would have
been another great line in this "uber celebration of depravity" as those
lame Universal execs so succinctly called it. This flick was definitely
worth the wait!!!
First off, the directing: Rob Zombie gave this film a unique visual style I had never seen in a film before. It was well made and very well edited. I loved the split-screens, filters, stock footage, use of color, and that infamous slow motion shot (I loved that scene!). Although he borrowed a little from "Natural Born Killers," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "Last House on the Left," what great horror film doesn't nowadays? Seriously!! So Mr. Zombie brought something new to the table, and will hopefully make a great contribution to horror (he has already in my opinion).
Secondly, the acting: Sid Haig and Bill Moseley totally stole the show!! They made horrifying, creepy, and relentless screen sickos, and gave me hope for the screen villain again (as opposed to lame efforts by thugs in cheap masks). Mrs. Zombie, or Sheri Moon, was totally insane as well as hot! Also, genre veterans Karen Black, Micheal J. Pollard, and Irwin Keyes brought creepiness to their insane roles! Tom Towles was also good in a good guy role! The late Dennis Fimple was hilarious as Grandpa Hugo! Newcomers Matthew McGrory and Robert Mukes were disturbing in their roles as Tiny and Rufus. As for the "victims," Chris Hardwick's Jerry was the only one I reasonably liked. The other three made lame efforts at acting, and need lessons from Marilyn Burns, and the cast of "The Hills Have Eyes"!! So it was hard to root for them, which was another twisted feat that Zombie accomplished. I actually rooted for the villains!!!!
Thirdly, the music: I loved the music!! It fit well with the atmosphere of the film! I own the soundtrack, and I loved it! My favorite song was the title theme, of course! I was expecting songs from Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, King Crimson, Blue Oyster Cult, and other "creepy" bands, but oh well. I was satisfied. I also loved the film's score.
Lastly, the atmosphere at the theater I was at: It was totally insane!!! People were screaming, jumping, laughing, walking out, and commenting loudly on how awesome it was!!! I was surprised there was such a packed audience, and it was barnone the best theater-going experience I had ever had!!!
Overall, this film is a creepy, intense, amazing, disturbing, and darkly funny attack on the senses!!! I definitely can't wait to see it again in the theater and to buy the DVD! Finally, a real horror movie with balls the size of Canada has hit the masses!!! This gives me great hope for the new wave of horror: the 70's throwback horror film!! There's plenty this year with "Irreversible," "Cabin Fever," "Wrong Turn," "Jeepers Creepers 2," "Highwayman," and the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake!!! Out of Five Stars: FIVE STARS!!!!! See this movie!! All Rob Zombie fans, metal music fans, horror fans, or people who want to see a hardcore horror film should go out and see this movie!! If you like it, you're awesome!! If you don't, I guess you're not ready for hardcore horror.
I already had a user comment for "House of a 1.000 Corpses" submitted
here on this site, dated over a year ago and
not very praising. In
fact, my first viewing of this film was so disappointing that I
excessively discouraged other people here to see it. Rather than to
simply ignore the old comment and pretend I never bashed it, I wish to
write a new more positive review, if it were only to convince other
people (who also disliked at first) to give it a second change. Several
factors (like the praising reviews on "The Devil's Rejects"-sequel and
conversations with fellow horror fans) nearly forced me to re-watch
"House of a 1.000 Corpses" and I'm glad I did. This truly is a film
that requires multiple viewing before one can properly judge it. Rob
Zombie's style is often innovating and so overwhelming that it might
look overly hectic at first but, in reality, his dedication towards
obscurity and his knowledge on classic cinema is one of the best things
that could ever happen to the horror genre. And that is something you
(or at least I) have to discover with repeated viewings
The power of this film lies in the fact that the screenplay covers all kind of successful horror premises. Serial killers, mad doctors, a family of crazies, deranged clowns, devil-worshipers .you name the type of terror and "House of a 1.000 Corpses" features it! This movie is a small revival of the entire horror genre all by itself. No extended and boring intros or pointless red herrings in this film, "House " is straightforward and surefooted sickness from start to finish and you're given almost no time to breathe. Some of the sequences in this film are so damn close to brilliant that I can't possibly figure out why I didn't love them right away!! The execution-scene guided by the moody "I Remember You"-song, for example, is amazingly atmospheric and quite unsettling. Although Rob Zombie's directing skills are still open for improvement (the abrupt climax, overly rough editing), his debut is a staggering gorefest that every horror fan has to experience repeatedly! Bring on the sequel I'm ready now!!
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....
House of 1,000 Corpses (2003) marks the directorial debut of
Trash/Industrial Artist Musician Rob Zombie. This film was sitting on
the shelf for a couple of years before Lion's Gate released it
theatrically. A homage of sorts to Zombie's favorite genre, southern
fried horror. Throw in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, add a little Eaten
Alive and a dash of FunHouse and you'll get the flavor of this film.
Four twenty somethings are riding along the back southern roads when they come across a roadside carnival run by an eccentric clown named Captain Spaulding. He gives them a personnel tour of his fun house of horrors and tells them the tale of a local ghoul named Doctor Satan. Inspired by phantasmagorical tale of the good doctor, they decide to search for his grave. Captain Spaulding draws them a map and gives them directions to an area where the Doctor allegedly died. On the road, they meet a pretty blond hitch-hiker who also knows about the legend of Doctor Satan...and a little more! What happens next? You'll have to visit House of 1,000 Corpses!
A great film that does what it sets out to do. I'm so glad to see old school grind house horror is back in the mainstream. A sequel is out and it's even better! I have to strongly recommend this movie. You won't regret it!
If you have not seen a vast majority of horror movies then this movie
will probably seem exciting and new. It is most assuredly not. Neither
is it scary, creepy, or really entertaining.
With a plot pulled from Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-visioned so that it can star Rob Zombie's wife, this film was a disappointment at first and then became comically bad as it progressed. So bad that it is now used as a drinking game for several friends and I as to who can guess which scene in this movie is a direct replica of another movie.
Really it all boils down to there is nothing original or even an attempt at original in this film. Instead every camera angle recalls another movie from Evil Dead II to Se7en. This movie seems to be a pandering attempt at teenagers who simply desire some sort of shock and gore with an almost elitist feeling of trying to seem as a homage but just comes off as a cheap bootleg version. I fear for Halloween as from various sources I have read it seems it is heading to the same fate as being a knock-off of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Of course this is all my opinion. If you have not seen this movie, go ahead and watch it. It is only your time you will be losing and although I dislike it your opinion may be different.
Anyone who has read my reviews on here prior to this one, and especially
people who know me personally will know that I am far from prudish, easily
offended or thin skinned. That being said, in my 32 years on this planet
have learned a lot, but realize I still have a lot to learn. I have sat
through some of the worst junk the international film community has
out, but "House of 1000 Corpses" is far and away the worst movie (I wont
honor it to call it a "film") I have had the displeasure to sit through.
Clocking in at less than 90 minutes, it drags on forever, making it seem
like youve been in the seat for 3+ hours. Its mindless story, ludicrous
dialogue, overly profane scripting, and atrocious direction make this one
the biggest losers I have seen grace the silver screen.
Clearly Rob Zombie is a big fan of Tobe Hooper's classic "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as this movie is basically one long copy of the house sequence in the far superior classic. Throw in a bit of Romero's "living dead", "Resident Evil", "The Serpent and the Rainbow" and shockingly "A Christmas Story" and you have the huge mess this thing is. Storyline appears to be a group of teenagers stumble upon a haunted house style roadside attraction, and in their zest to uncover some information on a local legend, find themselves at the hands of a rather over the top family.
Acting is practially non-existant. Karen Black and Sid Haig should really feel ashamed of their appearances here, and in fact the only redeeming member of the cast is the lovely and quite convincing Sheri Moon as Baby Firefly. The youngest member of this family, she comes across as really psychotic, and hopefully her career will not suffer from her appearance in this.
I have never before seen a movie where the errors in story presented themselves so fast. While referring to the five kidnapped cheerleaders from the local high school...the first line is that they were last seen leaving a football game...in five minutes or less they suddenly have disappeared from a cheering competition. Of course, given the fact that writer/director Rob Zombie is one of the few people on the planet whos lack of talent is exceeded only by his lack of intelligence, this really shouldnt have surprised me. I really dont have time or space to go into all the things I found wrong, but there is at least another full review's worth.
How is it junk like this gets released, yet (for example) George Romero has to beg, plead and whatever else to get "Dead Reckoning" made?? This is prosecution's exhibit #1 that no one really knows how to make a good horror film anymore.
I will now close this with words I have not uttered before. Save your money, don't see this. Save that hour and a half to do something constructive.
0 out of 5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
House of 1000 Corpses has Rob Zombie written all over it. This wasn't
created with viewers in mind, or how the audience would like it but
rather he created it (both writer, director and composer) as his own
love child of his own twisted, demented ideas. I mean the story is
pretty stereotypical ripping off ideas from Texas Chainsaw Massacre,
and a dozen other horror films. The sadistic family from Grandpa, to
Mama, to Baby is a fun idea but then Zombie mixes it with some sort of
stylized flashback, acid trip that makes the entire film annoying and
unwatchable. I did watch the whole thing but I also fast forwarded
through most of it and watched it that way and found it far more
amusing. Fortunately it's short, and I was surprised that it wasn't as
gory as I expected. I heard many people rave about the gore and
horrendous death scenes and I mean it was pretty typical horror. I've
certainly seen far worse as of late with Hostile, The Saw series and so
Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, Erin Daniels, and Jennifer Jostyn play the four unsuspecting young people driving across the country writing a book about out of the way tourist attractions when they come across Captain Spaulding's store. The four of them do a decent job of being the scream teens of the story, getting picked off one by one and leaving us to guess who is next and how they will die although I'm still not sure how come of them died it was done in such a confusing music video style. The four of them all do a relatively similar job with none of the standing out particularly. They all distinct personalities and do that part of it well. You don't really, truly get attached to any of them so you don't particularly care whether they die or not. Veteran actor Sid Haig plays one of my favorite characters in the film (yes I do have a favorite) Captain Spaulding. He's kind of the front man for the family because he actually runs a legitimate business without murdering every single person that walks through the door. He's funny, sarcastic, and sadistic all at once and he definitely adds some spice to the film. Bill Moseley plays Otis Driftwood, the most sadistic killer, and kind of leader of them all. He is appropriately deviant, and completely messed and his make-up and costume fits nicely. The idea of the character is pretty good and he does it well. Sheri Moon takes her performance over the top and does a great job as Baby Firefly. She looks completely normal, even sexy to the average guy but she as crazy and twisted as the rest of them always desperately wanting to kill something. Karen Black is Mother Firefly and she too is appropriately twisted and disturbing. Her and Baby Firefly play off each other well and are convincingly mother and daughter because of their completely twisted personalities. Matthew McGrory is the mute, deformed Tiny Firefly. Considering the character has nothing to say and little to actually do he does an alright job. I would hope that they would do more with a character they barely explain but they don't. He's just kind of there. Dennis Fimple, and Robert Allen Mukes play the final two members of the family but they also get the least screen time. Fimple as Grandpa Firefly has some funny lines but never does much of anything. One character entered the film and I thought it might change the entire premise and I was excited. He looks rough, tough as nails, ready to take on the Firefly family and that was Sheriff Drake Huston played by William Bassett. Brought in by one of the girl's fathers he immediately launches an investigation. Except he sends other people to do the investigating and we never see him again. He looked so great and tired and weathered and experienced...he was like Dr. Loomis of Halloween, ready to chase down these murderers and he was completely not used at all. What a disappointment!!
So the cast was a lot of potential to at the very least be a typical, fun little teenage slasher flick where the kids try to escape but it wasn't. The story was far more complex than it needed to be. It was all about an aging murderer who used to be a doctor in a mental facility and was trying to make a race of super humans by operating on mentally disturbed patients and now they all reside under ground, under the house hence "House of 1000 Corpses." DUMB!! Pointless, stupid, and by the time this all unravels you don't care in the least. Rob Zombie simply wanted to slap something together for himself with no thought to audiences or whether it was worthwhile and he wasted some good acting talent and even a decent idea for a good horror film by stylizing it with the ridiculous flashbacks, dream sequences and pointless cut ins done in different video styles like grainy, color drained, and so on. I will see the sequel "The Devil's Rejects" because I'm a horror fanatic and I want to see if he managed to improve it because it did better than the original one at the box office but even still... I suppose a lot people did enjoy it although with such a small budget it's not hard to do well in the theater. So if you like completely twisted, sadistic garbage like Zombie's music and films then you'll probably say I'm crazy but if you like a GOOD, WELL DONE, THOUGHT OUT horror film then you'll agree with me and say this one IS a corpse. 3/10
I have to ask because it seems that I'm not a true horror movie fan if
I don't like this movie. Thats a load of crap. I have seen all the
Nightmare on Elm Streets, Halloweens, Friday The 13ths, Hellraisers,
Evil Deads, etc. etc. I like film directors like John Carpenter, Wes
Craven, George A. Romero, Eli Roth. I've seen some obscure horror films
too, like Blood Beach, The Company Of Wolves and even seen The Last
House On the left (even though I didn't like it that much).
Problem I had with this film was it was too sadistic for its own good (the "bunny" killing scene especially made my blood turn cold), the villains antics grew tiresome, and THAT scene where the gun was held on the guy's head was JUST TOO LONG. No matter how stylish it was meant to be, it was just a director letting the scene run for too bloody long!
That said, I didn't totally dislike this movie. I could see that Rob Zombie has an obvious fondness for the horror movie and he set out to create a familiar story with his own sadistic and creative additions. The film was effective at making me wonder if the actors playing the villains were really acting or not, they did seem genuinely disturbed. However, the victims were kind of ho hum.
The production design of the film looked impressive too, with a lot of visual points of references to horror clichés.
Main problem was that I didn't really enjoy watching it, and I grew bored with it in its latter stages. It was shocking (in parts) just for being shocking and was just a film made by an amateur film maker (albeit an obviously enthusiastic one)
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