DVD REVIEW

House of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses
You know what? Screw it. There's no way to dance around this thing, I like House of 1000 Corpses. The reason is simple. I'm tired of where horror is headed. I'm sick and tired of all these preening bullshit Screams, I Know What You Did Last Summers, Jeepers Creepers and Joy Rides. Oh sure every once in awhile a Frailty or Sixth Sense or Cabin Fever comes along to justify the genre's existence but 90 percent of horror produced in the past five years has been filled to their brim with self congratulating irony that a fifth grader could come up with. It makes you wish that a self respecting monster would come along and just end them all.

Then here comes House of 1000 Corpses. Itís not particularly scary, well acted, well made or, anything. But God bless it, it believes, to the very core of its pitch black heart it believes, in its scares. Zombie is a horror fan, read any interview, go to any of his shows, see any of his music videos and you'll see that. He's like Quentin Tarantino of the music world, or more precisely Vincent Price. He doesn't care about street cred or if you think he's cool, he wants to give you a good show. Doesn't matter how he does it and when you get right down to it, I think he has a future as a filmmaker. Before you chunk those bricks at my window, please go to www.script-o-rama.com and check out his Crow script. Itís got the black humor and heart of the original and was primed to be the first sequel until they decided that they would rather have it be horrid. Which means that in some alternate universe there is a world where The Crow II was a crowning achievement.

Oh yeah, this movie. Like I said the movie isn't special aside from the refreshing lack of grade school irony and an utter love for the genre that he is thrilled to be inhabiting. The plot follows that of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a few twists along the way and old robot commie Nazis. In fact I'd say that this is actually a better Texas Chainsaw Massacre "remake" then the one released a couple of months ago. It remains much truer to the dark soul of that masterpiece and isn't afraid of getting ugly. The beginning sets the tone for the rest of the movie. A fifties style TV show host named "Dr. Wolfenstein" comes on, makes a lot of corny jokes, and introduces our film. This is followed by a commercial for Capt. Spaulding's fried chicken and then we get crime scene footage, the first of many tributes to TCM while Rob's sinisterly low key title track plays in the back. The tone is set, Jokey, Less Jokey, Pitch Black. The movie has those three speeds shown in the first minute and it switches through them with a recklessness that is sometimes off putting.

Four kids are on their way home after gathering information to write a book of some kind (seriously I can't make this up) and stop at Capt. Spaulding's Gas Station and chicken hutch. They hop on the "Murder Ride" that Spaulding keeps in his back yard (kinda like the Haunted Mansion on the violence drug from Jacob's Ladder). After leaving with their complementary "fried chicken" (TCM reference #3117) they decide to go out and look for the tree that Dr. Satan (a mental house intern from, well I guess hell) was hung on (for the book again, I guess). The Captain Spaulding section is the high point of the movie. Played by cult icon Sid Haig (Foxy Brown, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom) he gets the right tone of menace and black humor (SADDLE UP THE MULE MA!!) that would have served the movie better if it lasted the whole way through. Alas after a romp through his house of horrors we come to the Darkest and worst section of the movie the house.

On their way to look for the place of Satan's grisly demise our heroes stumble upon a hitchhiker. The hitchhiker, Baby, played by Rob Zombie's wife Sheri Moon, is always accompanied by her ass-less pants so that Zombie can sit off screen and say: "Look what I get to go home to tonight!" To be fair Baby does hold her own with her Evil Dead girl giggle and genuine malice. Ass-less pants or not, sheís good enough that you might decide it is best that Zombie is going home to her tonight and not you. If you've seen Ms. Moon you know that takes some doing. So of course the hapless teen's tires are shot out by a guy in a bear suit (just don't ask) and the Hitchhiker takes them home. At the house Baby introduces the four befuddled and rather dim teens to even more cult figures. There's Karen Black (Capicorn 1, Nashville, Family Plot) who tries to revive her career with an air of tragic desperation. You get the feeling that the crazed look in her eyes as she screeches "JUST AIN'T NOBODY ROUND HERE I FEEL LIKE JAW FLAPPING WIT" is more real then you'd like to believe. Then there's Otis played by Bill Mosely (Chop Top of TCM II, Army of Darkness, and Carnivale), who does things like Tie up a busload of cheerleaders in the attic and wait an incredible amount of time to shoot a cop. If you can't tell, despite some genuine scars (Scarecrows and sledgehammers all I'll say) the 2nd act is the weak link in the movie, and unluckily itís also the longest. Which is too bad because once we get into the third act House of 1000 Corpses does become fun again, as the heroine is chased by a zombie that would make Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi proud. Super Zombie (as fans have dubbed him) gives way to a wonderfully nasty twist on the TCM ending and we call it a day.

As far as extra's go, this disc is decent for a horror movie. It sports a few uninspired cast interviews, a little behind the scenes jaunt, nice commentary, and a stupefying waste of an extra called "Tiny Fucked A Stump" which features the cast telling the same joke over and over again.

I'll be Blunt, this movie has flaws, huge ones. You really don't care about the teens, the whole house section doesn't work, and the wild shifts in tone are distracting. But in the end I can't really hold any of that against this movie. As strange as that may sound, itís much too good hearted for me to do that. In a weird way this is like the most competent Ed Wood film ever made. From the desperate look in the actors eyes, to the obvious love the director had itís evident that this movie was made by a group of true believers. And I'll be damned if itís not infectious.






The Movie: star rating

You know what? Screw it. There's no way to dance around this thing, I like House of 1000 Corpses. The reason is simple. I'm tired of where horror is headed. I'm sick and tired of all these preening bullshit Screams, I Know What You Did Last Summers, Jeepers Creepers and Joy Rides. Oh sure every once in awhile a Frailty or Sixth Sense or Cabin Fever comes along to justify the genre's existence but 90 percent of horror produced in the past five years has been filled to their brim with self congratulating irony that a fifth grader could come up with. It makes you wish that a self respecting monster would come along and just end them all.

Then here comes House of 1000 Corpses. Itís not particularly scary, well acted, well made or, anything. But God bless it, it believes, to the very core of its pitch black heart it believes, in its scares. Zombie is a horror fan, read any interview, go to any of his shows, see any of his music videos and you'll see that. He's like Quentin Tarantino of the music world, or more precisely Vincent Price. He doesn't care about street cred or if you think he's cool, he wants to give you a good show. Doesn't matter how he does it and when you get right down to it, I think he has a future as a filmmaker. Before you chunk those bricks at my window, please go to www.script-o-rama.com and check out his Crow script. Itís got the black humor and heart of the original and was primed to be the first sequel until they decided that they would rather have it be horrid. Which means that in some alternate universe there is a world where The Crow II was a crowning achievement.

Oh yeah, this movie. Like I said the movie isn't special aside from the refreshing lack of grade school irony and an utter love for the genre that he is thrilled to be inhabiting. The plot follows that of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a few twists along the way and old robot commie Nazis. In fact I'd say that this is actually a better Texas Chainsaw Massacre "remake" then the one released a couple of months ago. It remains much truer to the dark soul of that masterpiece and isn't afraid of getting ugly. The beginning sets the tone for the rest of the movie. A fifties style TV show host named "Dr. Wolfenstein" comes on, makes a lot of corny jokes, and introduces our film. This is followed by a commercial for Capt. Spaulding's fried chicken and then we get crime scene footage, the first of many tributes to TCM while Rob's sinisterly low key title track plays in the back. The tone is set, Jokey, Less Jokey, Pitch Black. The movie has those three speeds shown in the first minute and it switches through them with a recklessness that is sometimes off putting.

Four kids are on their way home after gathering information to write a book of some kind (seriously I can't make this up) and stop at Capt. Spaulding's Gas Station and chicken hutch. They hop on the "Murder Ride" that Spaulding keeps in his back yard (kinda like the Haunted Mansion on the violence drug from Jacob's Ladder). After leaving with their complementary "fried chicken" (TCM reference #3117) they decide to go out and look for the tree that Dr. Satan (a mental house intern from, well I guess hell) was hung on (for the book again, I guess). The Captain Spaulding section is the high point of the movie. Played by cult icon Sid Haig (Foxy Brown, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom) he gets the right tone of menace and black humor (SADDLE UP THE MULE MA!!) that would have served the movie better if it lasted the whole way through. Alas after a romp through his house of horrors we come to the Darkest and worst section of the movie the house.

On their way to look for the place of Satan's grisly demise our heroes stumble upon a hitchhiker. The hitchhiker, Baby, played by Rob Zombie's wife Sheri Moon, is always accompanied by her ass-less pants so that Zombie can sit off screen and say: "Look what I get to go home to tonight!" To be fair Baby does hold her own with her Evil Dead girl giggle and genuine malice. Ass-less pants or not, sheís good enough that you might decide it is best that Zombie is going home to her tonight and not you. If you've seen Ms. Moon you know that takes some doing. So of course the hapless teen's tires are shot out by a guy in a bear suit (just don't ask) and the Hitchhiker takes them home. At the house Baby introduces the four befuddled and rather dim teens to even more cult figures. There's Karen Black (Capicorn 1, Nashville, Family Plot) who tries to revive her career with an air of tragic desperation. You get the feeling that the crazed look in her eyes as she screeches "JUST AIN'T NOBODY ROUND HERE I FEEL LIKE JAW FLAPPING WIT" is more real then you'd like to believe. Then there's Otis played by Bill Mosely (Chop Top of TCM II, Army of Darkness, and Carnivale), who does things like Tie up a busload of cheerleaders in the attic and wait an incredible amount of time to shoot a cop. If you can't tell, despite some genuine scars (Scarecrows and sledgehammers all I'll say) the 2nd act is the weak link in the movie, and unluckily itís also the longest. Which is too bad because once we get into the third act House of 1000 Corpses does become fun again, as the heroine is chased by a zombie that would make Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi proud. Super Zombie (as fans have dubbed him) gives way to a wonderfully nasty twist on the TCM ending and we call it a day.

As far as extra's go, this disc is decent for a horror movie. It sports a few uninspired cast interviews, a little behind the scenes jaunt, nice commentary, and a stupefying waste of an extra called "Tiny Fucked A Stump" which features the cast telling the same joke over and over again.

I'll be Blunt, this movie has flaws, huge ones. You really don't care about the teens, the whole house section doesn't work, and the wild shifts in tone are distracting. But in the end I can't really hold any of that against this movie. As strange as that may sound, itís much too good hearted for me to do that. In a weird way this is like the most competent Ed Wood film ever made. From the desperate look in the actors eyes, to the obvious love the director had itís evident that this movie was made by a group of true believers. And I'll be damned if itís not infectious.






The Disc: dvd



Reviewed By: Bryce Wilson

Release Details
Length: 88 min
Rated: R
Release Date:  2003-08-12
Starring: Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, Bill Mosely, Karen Black, Chris Hardwick, Rainn Wilson, Jennifer Jonstyn, Erin Daniels, Micheal J. Pollard
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Produced by: Andy Gould
Written by: Rob Zombie
comment
blog comments powered by Disqus
FROM THE WEB
NEW REVIEWS
TOP MOVIES
HOT TOPICS