Newest Review: ... from the outset, House Of 1,000 Corpses scores high on the weird scale. The friendly and helpful Capt. Spaulding wears clown mak... more
House of Rob Zombie's Corpses
House Of 1000 Corpses (DVD)
Member Name: Jarisleif
House Of 1000 Corpses (DVD)
Date: 04/12/12, updated on 05/12/12 (25 review reads)
Advantages: Blood and gore
Disadvantages: Not many
Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.
The film was 88 minutes in length and starred Sid Haig ("Spider Baby" (1968), "Brotherhood of Blood" (2007) and "Kill Bill Vol. 2" (2004)) as Captain Spaulding, Bill Moseley ("The Texas chainsaw Massacre 2" (1986), "The Blob" (1988) and "Pink Cadillac" (1989)) as Otis B. Driftwood, and Karen Black ("Airport 1975" (1974), "Family Plot" (1976) and "Easy Rider" (1969)).
The plot for the film reads as follows: Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.
Is there nothing Rob Zombie can't do? As well as being the front man of heavy metal band White Zombie before disbanding in 1998, he's also a successful solo artist, actor, and a very talented cartoonist. When I first heard he was to direct this film, I knew it would be something I'd be interested in. I have a passion for old splatter horror films, and I was pretty certain that after watching "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" (Rob drew the hallucination scene) that what we would get with "House of 1000 Corpses" was something completely different. If you're a fan of the Marx Brothers, you'll recognise most of the character names as they're taken from films made by the quintet. Is it any good? Let's find out!
The film starts out with Captain Spaulding advertising his business with this dialogue which I like a lot:
"Howdy Folks! You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well then, come on down to Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. See the Alligator Boy, ride my famous Murder Ride. Most of all, don't forget to take home some of my tasty fried chicken. It just tastes so damn good!"
The first song we hear is Rob Zombie himself with "House of 1000 Corpses", taken from his 2001 album, "The Sinister Urge". The track sets the scene nicely for what's in store and it's some of the best music Rob has done. From the offset, it's clear that Rob Zombie has a vivid imagination, as there are plenty of colourful scenes that almost resemble a comic book. That could also be down to his love for art and illustration and I think it adds a neat touch to the violence, blood and gore. You can imagine Rob sitting there writing this and drawing what he sees in his head. The set designers and special effects people must be applauded for being able to bring it to life. There is another wonderful scene near the end where there's an underground passage which is lined with skeletons and skulls. I thought that was a brilliant piece of artwork and it makes me feel part of the film because of its reality. The film is supposedly set on Halloween in the 1970s, which is also around the time Michael Myers first started tearing up Haddonfield, Illinois in the "Halloween" film franchise. One of the most poignant moments of the film comes when the group are of teenagers are taken on the Murder Ride, and we see footage of Ed Gein, Albert Fish and the fictional Dr. Satan. The kids don't really know what's in store for them but they find out soon enough when further down the road, a very clichéd running out of gas scenario ensues and they're taken back to the Firefly house by Baby, who just happened to be out hitchhiking at the time.
I'm not going to give the game away because I think the film will be able to speak more than I can, and I'm sure it's more entertaining than me waffling on anyway, but needless to say much murder and mayhem ensues when the foursome gets to the house and there are some pretty gruesome scenes which are clearly not meant for the squeamish. Having said that, there are also some comedic moments, like Captain Spaulding's t-shirts. We first see him in one that says "If I wanted to listen to an asshole I'd fart" and he has another that says "Pigs is beautiful". As a side note and something which I found amusing was when he's being questioned in his store by two cops wearing that shirt and you can hear him snorting like a pig. Whether that's intentional or not, I don't know.
The characters of the film are very diverse and that's down to the fantastic imagination of Rob Zombie. Captain Spaulding is my favourite of the bunch and wears clown make-up. He is freaky-looking and the sort of guy you can imagine coming across at a back road place out in the middle of nowhere. The fact is, though, that he's funnier than a real clown and it portrayed brilliantly by Sid Haig. Spaulding quite clearly doesn't care about many things but loves John Wayne and even has a tattoo of the Duke on his arm. He runs a gas station that has a serial killer museum and haunted ride attached to it.
Sheri Moon Zombie is stunning as Baby Firefly, a gorgeous young woman who is quite clearly insane, though cold and calculated. She sleeps with the bodies of her victims and doesn't seem to care how she kills, just as long as it's brutal and painful. There is a scene where she mimes the Marilyn Monroe song "I Wanna be Loved by You" in the house. It's done in such a way that you begin to wonder just what you're watching, but it does have purpose.
Otis B. Driftwood is brutally violent. He's a sadist, necrophiliac and rapist, and we've only just begun to start talking about him. He likes to wear costumes of the skin of his victims, just like serial killer Ed Gein, and the fictional killer from "The Silence of the Lambs", Buffalo Bill. What I like the most about Otis is that he has a knack for being funny, even though he's probably not trying to be. His taste for violence knows no bounds and he experiments on his victims, eventually turning them into attractions for Captain Spaulding's museum.
In summary, while most horror films have gone in the way of the paranormal, "House of 1000 Corpses" sticks true to tradition of the 1970s boom of true horror. What you'll see in here is a bit of "Friday the 13th", some "Halloween" and a touch of "Evil Dead", and that's always a good thing. Rob Zombie brings in some fresh murderous horror to stand tall in the 21st century with a little cheesiness and comedy thrown in for good measure. It's a very good directorial debut and it's a film I come back to now and then when I tire of watching horror films that really aren't horror any more. I'm sure you will like it if you want to see 70s horror in the 00s.
The critics quite clearly didn't agree with me, or didn't understand what Rob Zombie was doing here... or maybe I just have a warped sense of what's good and what's not!
Variety: "A cobwebbed, mummified horror entry that makes obvious, cartoonishly grotesque demands for attention."
San Jose Mercury News: "Parts have been cannibalized from better shockers and, worse, the stitches holding them together are so obvious they glow in the dark."
Boston Globe: "I'm not sure Zombie really wants to scare us at all. Turn our stomachs; maybe, scratch our heads, sure. But scares are not really on the Zombie menu."
Los Angeles Times: "The endless gore and violence make the experience torturous -- and not just for the victims in the movie."
Hollywood Reporter: "The end results are almost strangely devoid of thrills, shocks or horror, other than the sight of not one but two former Oscar nominees (Black and Michael J. Pollard) reduced to such a pitiable career state."
My rating: 9/10
Summary: This is the house, come on in.