House of 1000 Corpses (2003) [REVIEW]

 

Wait a second, since when does the number “one thousand” not require a comma?! Grammatical errors aside, I remember this movie only existing as a rumor for quite a few years. It was shot in 2000 and was apparently so filled with “sadistic violence/gore” that studios never thought it would be released. It’s kind of insane thinking that just ten years ago, this film was considered the epitome of violence in movies, when I’d say it’s somewhat tame compared to some other things that are getting a larger distribution. Remember the teaser trailer for it? Where it was just some crew of people digging up bodies in the rain? That was pretty intense. And the name of the movie is pretty cool, too. The first time I saw it was a bootleg copy in my friend’s house, so it was in shitty quality, and I felt guilty about breaking the law. If any of you are policemen, please don’t arrest me.

 

Where did you learn to practice medicine, Dr. Satan?! And who licensed you?! Hey wait…that’s the guy from Singled Out! Where’s Jenny McCarthy!?

We start off in a shitty gas station/truck stop that’s run by Captain Spaulding, played by Sid Haig, as some unfortunate bastards attempt to rob him. If his foul mouth wasn’t enough to scare them away, he has henchmen back him up and kill the attackers. We cut to a group of young travelers who are in pursuit of local legends in hopes of writing a book. When they stop at Captain Spaulding’s they learn the legend of “Dr. Satan”, a serial killer who is worse than any other you can imagine. Spaulding gives directions to one of Dr. Satan’s hotspots, and on their way, pick up a hitchhiker, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, who goes by the name of “Baby”. Baby offers her family’s assistance, only for the travelers to realize that her entire family is psychotic. They are responsible for the abduction, torture, and murder of dozens of local youths, possibly coming to the total number of 1,000. They decide to start torturing and killing these youths, drawing out one torture session by lowering one girl into a deep, dark hole while in a coffin. When she gets out, she finds herself in an underground series of tunnels, and while following the tunnels, looking for escape, she encounters Dr. Satan, hellbent on her destruction. She is able to make her way back topside and is picked up by a car driving by. This car is driven by Captain Spaulding, promising to bring her to safety, only to have one of the family members pop up in the backseat, ensuring her ultimate demise.

 

Otis then went to Norway with Immortal. So kvlt.

Back when this movie first came out and people asked what I thought of this movie, I told them that, “If I wanted to see a 70’s exploitation film, I’d watch one”, thinking I was really cool and hip, and I still stand by this statement. There’s quite a few stories about the development of this movie and the changes in the plot and visual elements of this film, that it really does just feel thrown together. There’s no argument here about Rob Zombie having a sense of style with his horror movies, and considering this was his first movie, it makes sense that there’s an abundance of style and lack of plot cohesion. The first chunk of the movie makes you think it will be about the terrifying Dr. Satan, only to realize the family is far more terrifying. At the end, when Dr. Satan shows up, he’s not even scary anymore. There are lots of segments that were shot on 16mm and blown up that were shot in Zombie’s basement that, although are kind of creepy, distract you from the story as opposed to add to it. It really isn’t all that graphic when it comes to portrayed violence, but instead relies on camera tricks and sound effects to achieve its feeling of discomfort. The highlight of the film would be the standout performances of the actors. From Mother Firefly, played by Karen Black, to Captain Spaulding and Baby, and most importantly the brother Otis, played by Bill Moseley, that really make you glad that these are just characters in a movie. This movie belongs to them much more than any of the directorial choices, and when you found out about the sequel to this movie, there was a big sigh of relief that made you hope it would be less confusing.

 

Wolfman Moon Scale


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5 responses to “House of 1000 Corpses (2003) [REVIEW]

  1. So… You’re cool with policeWOMEN arresting you? I don’t think that scenario would be as titillating as you’ve dreamed it would be.

  2. Pingback: The Lords of Salem (2012) [REVIEW] [SXSW] | The Wolfman Cometh·

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