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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....
Is it possible that in my lifetime or for that matter in the tenure of mankind on this earth to see a film worse than this? This putrid piece of cellulose is terribly written,acted and edited. I remember Rob Zombie pimping this garbage and assuring us that it was so gruesome and gory that no movie studio would give it a go. I thought to myself,well finally somebody will scare the hell outta me like "The Exorcist" and "Hellraiser". Never been more wrong.Even with the obvious satirical overtones. This cinematic insult makes "Plan 9 From Outer Space" look like "Citizen Kane".I have the feeling that Mr.Zombie went on a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Top Secret" bender and came up with this pile of fecal matter. I understand Rob's fascination with gore,blood and the like,as I have seen him perform live with his band,and they were quite good,but for the love of God,Rob,stop making movies. There are absolutely no redeemable qualities to it. No scene stood out.No likable characters,just all annoying as hell. In short,if this movie was a meal,I'd spend an hour licking my dog's behind to get the bad taste out of my mouth.
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.
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!
This film looks as though it were edited by Timothy Leary while on one of
his hallucinatory trips. The story is a poor carbon copy of The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre and about 150 other teenagers-meet-slasher-family
Which isn't too bad if you're a fan of the genre. Unfortunately, in this
film the makers decided to use sepia toned intercuts amidst the "main"
action sequences. And the flashing back and forth is so fast paced, and
totally random, that half the time the viewer can't tell who is doing what
to whom, and for all of the advertised gore, we really don't get to see
anything all that explicit.
The acting is pretty deficient as well, although newcomer Sheri Moon shows some promise in at least being a captivating screen presence.
This movie was a total waste of time, and the cost of the movie tickets, and hopefully shows us the bottom of the barrel in slasher horror. At least we can rest assured that there is no way for the genre to go from here but up.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie yesterday, I don't really know much about Rob Zombie, I don't listen to his kind of music. I'm not a big splatter fan, but I did like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other horror films, so I thought I would give this one a chance.
I actually liked it at first, it was kind of scary and bizarre enough, but it just became more and more sickening, the evil family in this movie was just absolutely disgusting, which wouldn't have been so bad, but they are almost treated as the heroes of the movie, I get the feeling that Rob Zombie doesn't find their behavior all that reprehensible.
One thing that happened was just to ridiculous, there were 5 local cheerleaders that went missing that keep getting mentioned in the movie, and when one is discovered in the trunk of a car, dead, with the words "trick or treat" carved into her, they send 2 cops to check things out. That place would have been crawling with cops, my suspension of disbelief doesn't go that far.
I don't mind downbeat endings, sometimes I find them preferable, but this ending just took the cake, I think mostly because it wasn't presented as a downbeat ending, again, I get the feeling that RZ views this as a happy ending. Also, if they were going to end it that way, couldn't at least one of the villains have gotten their comeuppance? I would have loved to see that evil, annoying (but very pretty), blond bimbo get whacked. But of course, I think the director saw them as the heroes of the movie.
I felt dirty after watching this movie.
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