Wednesday, October 23, 2013

13 Days of Halloween: Review of House of 1000 Corpses

In writer/director Rob Zombie’s film debut, House of 1000 Corpses, two teenage couples travelling the back roads of America in search of roadside oddities discovering a sinister local legend of a man called “Dr. Satan”. In their attempts to research the legend, they stumble upon a sadistic family of backwoods serial killers, and all Hell begins to break loose.

Filmed in 2000 but released until three years later, House of 1000 Corpses is the kind of horror film that divides fans: they either love it or hate. Me, I’m somewhere in-between. They elements that I liked most about the movie where a) the scenes with Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), b) the sequence in Doctor Satan’s lair, and c) the soundtrack.

I have to admit that I absolutely dig the scenes with Captain Spaulding and his Murder Ride. Spaulding is one those characters is so nasty but so funny that you can’t help but like him. Sid Haig did a terrific job as the character, easily earning him (and Bill Mosely as Otis Driftwood, for that matter) a place alongside such modern horror icons like Jigsaw from SAW or Sam from Trick ‘r Treat. Not to mention, the Museum of Monsters and Madmen is just plain awesome, with its dark ride dedicated to serial killers.

As for the rest of the movie, it occurs to me that this movie is like a cinematic haunt; with its weird goings-on, trippy-weird editing, bizarre characters, Halloween night setting, perverse sense of humor, and slightly random sensibility (the “skunk-ape” bit still has me confused) is probably the closest you get to have a cinematic haunted house without actually filming a haunt. Not surprisingly, it has been adapted into a haunted attraction several times, mostly by Halloween Horror Nights, but most recently by the Great American Nightmare. If you’re haunter looking for inspiration for character or set designs, definitely look this one up. Also, I can’t do this review without briefly mentioning the awesome soundtrack by Zombie. I’m obviously a bit biased as I’m already a fan of Zombie’s music, but this soundtrack does have some pretty cool songs, such as “Everybody Scream”, “Run Rabbit Run”, the wonderfully sleazy “P#ssy Liquor”, and of course, “House of 1000 Corpses”.



Now obviously this is a seriously flawed film. I will give Zombie the benefit of the doubt and point out that the studio was giving him a hard time about the movie, his first effort, and making a movie is hard job. Still, the movie has it’s weak points – it’s not the most frightening, or even the most shocking, but I still found it to be entertaining, with its psychedelic editing, ghoulish characters, and twisted humor. In summary, if you’re a haunt looking for some Halloween viewing, House of 1000 Corpses might make a good addition to your movie list.

HalloweeNut’s Verdict:
2 out of 4 Skulls

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