Today is normally reserved for my Monday Mood Music, and though it's posting later than usual, it's a selection that also fits in snugly with the Week of Reel Whorror!. Seeing as how this week's all about the evil that houses do or hold, it's impossible not to mention the film Rob Zombie crammed every conceptual ounce of horror into. And, being a rocker prior to debuting as a writer-director, he was all too happy to supply his initial offering with a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack which included his cover of this Commodores classic.
House of 1000 Corpses
DVD Release: 08.12.03
1 hours, 29 minutes
I have to go on record as saying House of 1000 Corpses is perhaps one of the best and one of the worst horror films I have ever seen. Approximately three-fourths of it is edgy and phenomenal in its delivery; the remaining just utter filth and a waste of good celluloid. Then again, the horror genre has a wealth of depraved avenues one can traverse; I just prefer some concepts more than others.
The debut picture from musician turned writer-director Rob Zombie opens on All Hallow's Eve with four college kids traveling along the back roads of Texas (has a familiar ring to it, right?). Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig, Jackie Brown) runs the roadside Gasoline, Fried Chicken, and Horror Museum where the kids stop to stock up for the last leg of their voyage home. The museum tour chronicles notorious mass murderers, including the local legend, Dr. Satan, which sparks the kids’ need to drive out to the fabled killer's remote stomping grounds in the cold, rainy dead of night. One hitchhiker named Baby (Sheri Moon) and one flat tire later, the kids end up at the home of the Firefly family. After partaking in the Firefly Halloween celebration and getting the car repaired, their fun really begins.
The darkest, most twisted character is Otis, creepily portrayed by Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). Otis will single-handedly freak you out. He’s the answer to the question “What if Ted Nugent was insane?...correction...an insane mass murderer?” Sid Haig's Captain Spaulding is a vulgar, dreadful delight and may just hold the record for most profanity per minute from a character. Spaulding couldn't open his mouth without making a sailor blush. I always wished Haig would start appearing in more features after 1000 Corpses, but seems only Mr. Zombie appreciates his talent. Sheri Moon's Baby is a sexy, sultry psychotic woman who flaunts it. Her high-pitched, joyful schoolgirl giggle will send chills up and down your spine. My favorite sedate scene with Baby involves a liquor run to the local ABC store with the ingenious name. (I was so enamored by her character that I penned two pieces of fan fiction for the LAMB).
The unsuspecting travelers are played by Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Erin Daniels (One Hour Photo), Jennifer Jostyn (Deep Impact) and a then, mostly unknown Rainn Wilson (Juno). As each becomes the playthings of their sadistic hosts, they give great ear-piercing screams. The gore and torture are wonderfully sick and twisted; the influences of many horror classics are plainly evident in 1000 Corpses. It's a very bloody and deliberately brutal film with a smidgen of violence tossed in to help offset the blood. Unfortunately, 1000 Corpses has many horrific horror film fumbles that disengaged my interest at times. Likewise, Zombie's direction is tense, creating a nail-biting ambience, but at other moments he segues into a music video vantage with random cuts and digital effects unnecessary to the story's development.
House of 1000 Corpses has something for every aficionado of the horror genre, and that is where it fails. In trying to make a dish palatable to all connoisseurs, Rob Zombie inevitably created a film with some indigestible tripe. That said, it is still a must see. I recommend 1000 Corpses on the well-developed and unique characterizations alone; what you try to get from the rest of the flick is done so at your own risk.