Archive for the ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ Category

145 – House of 1,000 Corpses

September 25, 2003

This movie tries awfully hard to be a new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is silly, because the original 1974 movie is being remade this year, anyway). As such, it’s a popcorn movie – throw that ol’ Pop Secret in the microwave and get prepared to have that knowing smirk wiped off your face. This isn’t a tame, placid movie in which the killers aren’t seen; it’s an all-out gore fest that delights
in shocking, or at least in attempting to shock.

Much of the plot has been lifted from countless drive-in movies. Four teens are driving across the country, collecting information for a book one of them is writing about odd roadside attractions. They stop for gas at a place called Spaulding’s, run by a half-mad misfit (Sid Haig) who sometimes dresses as an evil clown. The young quartet, after gassing up, takes a “tour of evil” behind the store, and here they learn about a half-mythical being known as Dr. Satan. Thinking this might be good fodder for their book, the kids ask Captain Spaulding (you oldtime movie buffs should catch that reference) if he can direct them to where Dr. Satan now resides. The wacko is glad to oblige.

But of course, it’s dark, and then it’s rainy, and then they pick up a sexy hitchhiker, and then the tire blows. And wouldn’t you know it, the kids forgot the spare. So the hitchhiker (Sheri Moon) who says she lives down the street, says she’ll get her brother to bring his tow truck around. Which means it’s not too long before our four “normal” kids are stranded in a spooky house in the middle of the night during a harsh rainstorm.

The Firefly family is a tad on the peculiar side, from young harlot Baby (Moon) to old harlot Mother Adrienne (Karen Black) to Otis (Bill Moseley), who looks a lot like Riff-Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to Granpa (Dennis Fimple). Naturally, it’s not long before these meddling kids want to get out of there. FAST.

House of 1,000 Corpses is not a movie built strongly on a foundation of irrefutable plot development. It’s signature is style, and director/screenwriter Rob Zombie bathes the movie in an absolute orgy of it, complete with dismemberments and scalpings and many other horrific elements. There’s plenty of blood and gore, and as long as you can convince yourself it’s not actual gore, you might find this a fun movie.

Let me pause right there. Some of you are probably scratching your heads. “A fun movie?” you ask. Death and dismemberment is fun? Sure, in a creepily exotic way. The idea of the movie isn’t to see how the kids can escape the horror, it’s to see how many unique and interesting ways they can be tortured. All right, so that’s a little
sick. I admit it. I have a bloodthirst when it comes to some movies. If I’m in the right mood, a gory film (see Dead Alive, by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson to learn about fun with a lawnmower) is perfect.

This is all a roundabout way of explaining that this movie is not for all audiences, but then again the title alone should alert you to that. It’s probably a bad idea to let young, impressionable kids watch this. I say “probably,” only because perhaps you don’t mind your Timmy growing up thinking slaughtering young people is okey dokey.

It’s not a movie for the weak of heart. Please don’t watch this if you’re pregnant; it may induce laughter. You see, when this came out to poor reviews, I figured the big problem was that it was laughable. It’s not laughable – you just have to be in a precise frame of mind for it. I hope Zombie makes more of these.

Oh, and here’s an interesting bit of trivia. One of the four teens is played by Chris Hardwick, who once upon a time cohosted the MTV game show Singled Out!

House of 1,000 Corpses: *** (but only for gore fans; for everyone else, it’s more like *1/2)