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More in your face than in your head., 15 March 2007


The best horror movies leave you feeling disturbed. They get into your head and stay their for awhile and get at something approaching primal fear. Sometimes they do it by not showing anything or just glimpses of terror (think Don't Look Now) or have some gore to go along with your shocks (think the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre). House of 1000 Corpses does neither. It just throws helpless victims who Rob Zombie seems not to care about except that he wants them to suffer, and seems to want the audience to cheer on their demise. He does not want you to relate to them at all. They might as well be pin cushions or plastic dolls to be stabbed and torn apart in sadistic ways. He seems to make his victims people who probably tormented him in high school. Cheerleaders, nerds, pretty girls, a suburban dad, and some cops. This movie feels like an movie revenge against those types of people. That is all the characters are anyway, just types. The movie is just one note. It goes from horrible, (when the robbers get killed to when the victims first get abducted) to more horrible (when the cops and Denises father get killed and Otis wears the "Dad" suit) to most horrible (all of the Dr. Satan scenes and the ending).

Rob Zombie would show snippets of information to try to scare you I think by letting you know it is going to get worse. This drains any suspense he might build. We already know things are going to be bad for the characters because the title of the movie is House of 1000 Corpses. He would show clips of old movies along with faked grainy footage of the Firefly family in past crimes. If he just tried to be less MTV it may have worked better. I think the only reason for old movie clips is to show what old movies he liked. What other reason are they in the picture?

One thing that bothered me was why wasn't their any follow up investigation into the disappearance of the cops and the girls father? The Sheriff knew what they were doing. Besides, as soon as the cheerleader body was found in the trunk of the victims car, the FBI would be called in and the whole countryside would be crawling with feds and cops.

Some people liked the no hope ending and tout it as being realistic. Folks logically assume there is no way these young people would get away from these maniacs. All of the victims die and none of the killers are punished. This is true to an extent. But with the cops in the story and the dead cheerleader in the trunk (I mean it was all over the news), you really have to suspend your disbelief. Like I wrote previously, cops and feds would investigate. Maybe a better ending would be like a siege like a Waco or something (with less people though). The Fireflies rig up explosives in a suicide instead of getting caught. Going out in a blaze of glory taking out their victims and maybe more cops too. Or maybe they just leave out the cop angle altogether?

I did like some of the cast. It was fun seeing Karen Black being creepy again. Sid Haig I recognized from some 70's-80's exploitation movies and TV was memorable as Captain Spaulding. Michael J Pollard was only in the movie at the beginning, which was a shame. Dennis Fimple was another guy I recognized. He is one of those guys you say, "I've seen that guy in stuff but I can't remember what". In fact, half of the older cast members fit in that category.

I hope that Rob Zombie gets better at film-making because he has a ghoulish sense of humor. Its just that cheap thrills are not scary. This movie was in your face when it should have been in your head.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Why I liked it - contains spoilers, 16 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I do not want to write a conventional essay so I will just put down elements and scenes I liked.

- All of the technical crew esp Greg Toland's photography.

- Herman J Manciewiecz's contribution to the screenplay.

- Bernard Herrman's Score

- The opening scene, esp when the nurse comes in after the snow globe breaks. When I was a kid (around 12) I thought that was one of the coolest looking things ever.

- "NEWS ON THE MARCH" I love the way they made the newsreel look old in spots.

- The way the light from the projector cuts through the darkness and smoke and only barely illuminates the reporters.

- The echo at the Thatcher Memorial Library from the librarians voice and footsteps and the way the light floods the table where the reporter reads Thatcher's journal.

- When Agnus Moorehead (Kanes mother) yells "Charles". The slight crack in her voice breaks my heart every time.

- When Kane tells Thatcher that his paper will lose money and will have to close in sixty years. I love how it is an uninterrupted take until it cuts to Welles saying the line: "at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place - in sixty years."

- When Kane says "I always gagged on that silver spoon" and these exchanges: Thatcher: You're too old to be calling me Mr. Thatcher, Charles Charles Foster Kane: You're too old to be called anything else.

- When Bernstein tells the reporter: Bernstein: Well, it's no trick to make a lot of money... if what you want to do is make a lot of money.


Bernstein: A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all, but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl.


Bernstein: Old age. It's the only disease, Mr. Thompson, that you don't look forward to being cured of.

- The Mr Kane song

- The breakfast scene that succinctly shows the deteriorating relationship between Kane and Emily, his first wife.

- When Leland Keeps asking the reporter for a cigar and when he says

Leland: I can remember absolutely everything, young man. That's my curse - that's one of the greatest curses ever inflicted on the human race, memory.

- The way you see the same scene at the opera twice giving the viewer another perspective

- When Kane and Susan Alexander meet. Also this line Kane: I run a couple of newspapers. What do you do?

- The Shot of Kane giving his campaign speech

- When Leland and Kane discuss his defeat and this line

Kane: A toast,Jedediah, to love on my terms. Those are the only terms anybody ever knows - his own.

- Bernard Herrman writing an opera that's supposed to be bad.

- After the opera tour scene we see a close up of a light bulb dissolve into the shot where Susan took an overdose or a poison while Kane bangs on the door.

- Susan's jigsaw puzzles.

- The huge fireplace.

- The weird back round during the everglade picnic scene.

- Kanes destruction of Susan's room.

- The mirrors he walks by after he picks up the snow globe.

- At the end of the interview with Susan, The reporter says he feels sorry for Kane, Susan: Don't you think I do.

- The credits at the end.

- Last but not least, Orson Welles and his great direction.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
One of Bogarts and Rays best, 19 June 2001

Tension. Tension in a Nicholas Ray movie is a given, at least the ones I have seen(They Live by Night, On Dangerous Ground, Johnny Guitar, Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, Party Girl, King of Kings and this one). Every scene in the movie Bogart looks like he might snap. The very first scene of the movie sets this up great. Bogart is recognized by an attractive actress in the car next to his at a red light. The man driving the car gets fresh with Bogart and Bogart(Dixon Steel, screenwriter in the movie) challenges him to a fight without batting an eye. He has reactionary temper that had gotten him in trouble in the past. For the rest of the movie you don't know what to expect from him. I wont get that much into the plot(its really secondary to the relationships that Dixon Steel has with every other character in the movie, esp. with Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame who gives a terrific performance), just see one of the great Hollywood movies about itself. Also surprising is the downbeat ending, considering that this 1950. That year was a great year for some downbeat dramas or thrillers. Also check out All About Eve, Sunset Blvd. and The Asphalt Jungle.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Should be in the junk yard, 1 March 2001

This is the worst car chase movie ever. I don't want to harp on how bad I feel this picture is, I'll just mention that the car jump on the bridge at the end of the movie was sinful. In the past, when film makers want a car jump, they actually had a real car jumping, not some computer generated crap that this movie delivers.This takes all the fun out of the movie for me. The chase at the end should have been good considering the buildup (Which sucked anyway). Don't waste your time. To those who enjoyed it, shame on you for accepting another Bruckheimer mess. Watch it again and you will see how not to make an action movie.

67 out of 94 people found the following review useful:
Not only a great musical,a great movie, 20 February 2001

One thing I noticed in reading the comments of this movie is that nobody recognized the screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Without their screenplay the movie does not get made. It is a great script that was made better by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donens' fluid direction. Everything in this movie glides effortlessly. Throw in dancing by Donald O'connor, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse and of course Gene Kelly, Great songs and the willingness of producer Arthur Freed to let the creative people to do their thing and you have a classic.

15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
surprisingly fun, 1 February 2001

I caught this movie on cable one night after flipping through the channels. I caught the sight of a beautiful women.I did not even know it was Carmen Elecktra in the picture but she looked good. I then notice that David Hyde Pierce was narrating what was trying to be a national geographic special on human mating, from the perspective of outer space aliens.This clever premise plus Miss Elecktra's obvious attributes hooked me for the movie. This was not an especially good movie but it had some charm and the actors played their parts well. This was a pleasant surprise that if you see it on cable it can be diverting. Sure it was predictable and at times cliché ridden; even annoying but I watched it to the end and enjoyed most of it. I especially liked the sperms on the track, the spermicide guy and the conception scene. Even though the movie made an attempt to make relationships seem complicated (which they are), the movie was not. Still worth a look, but don't inconvenience yourself.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
like watching a kid play with muppets, 18 April 2000

This movie has to be one of the most disappointing pictures ever released. First a recap of the originals. Star Wars-great, stands on its own; Empire- expands on the first one and goes even deeper; Jedi- Good for kids but just rehashed plots from the first one, also got too cute, but still pretty good. This prequel is only a big expensive toy for George Lucas to play with. Bad script, Bad acting, (esp Jake Lloyd, where was the kid from the Sixth Sense?) with everyone stands around and recites stupid lines, cardboard characters... I can't go on I'm too depressed, taking a great franchise and ruining it. If I sound harsh,I am. These were movies I grew up with and now I have a bad taste in my mouth. I will see the other two coming out because i'm a glutton for punishment. Please Mr. Lucas, make them better. For fans who Star Wars can do no wrong, they will like it anyway. But for movies buffs who just like good movies please don't ruin a once great thing.