Starring Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Karen Black, Rainn Wilson and Sheri Moon-Zombie
A quartet of young adults driving across the country to research goofy roadside attractions and tourist traps investigate a backwoods urban legend known as Dr. Satan and are terrorized by a sadistic family of killers.
Dare you enter…
Bill (Wilson) and Jerry (Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick) along with their girlfriends Mary and Denise, are driving down a dark road on little gas when they see a sign advertising a gas station and a museum featuring serial killers and psychopaths. They kill two birds with one stone on this trip because they’re on a trip around the country to write a book about America’s weird and wacky roadside tourist traps. The museum belongs to a man who calls himself Captain Spaulding, a clown with an attitude seen in the opening of the film dispatching a pair of would-be robbers as only Spaulding (Haig) can do. After raising Spaulding’s ire with annoying questions about his business, they buy tickets for his attraction and learn about a local legend, a serial killer known as Dr. Satan.
After Jerry convinces the group to investigate into the story further, the car suspiciously gets a flat not long after they pick up a hitchhiker calling herself Baby (Moon-Zombie) who then brings them to her place, a spooky farmhouse covered in broken dolls. Mama (Black) comes out to introduce herself along with the rest of the family including a giant named Tiny and Otis (Moseley) an albino with a proclivity to making art with human bodies. Even after big mouth Jerry insults the family, they are invited to dinner and a show that ends prematurely when Bill’s girlfriend takes offense to Baby’s constant flirting with him and a fight breaks out. The group quickly escapes outside only to be attacked at the gate and they become the family’s new playthings as they endure humiliations, torture and even ritual sacrifice.
Musician Rob Zombie made huge headlines back in 2000 when Universal Studios basically gave him free reign to make a horror film. Using 70s horror and exploitation films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes as a guide, he whipped together a movie so violent and graphic that the studio decided to shelve House of 1000 Corpses instead of releasing an NC-17 film in theatres. The hype was high but no one was going near it to give it a theatrical release until emerging independent studio Lionsgate stepped in and released it in 2003. Was it worth all the hype and excitement?
I have no doubt Zombie succeeded in delivering the film he wanted to make. Coming from a music video background, HO1KC is basically a horror movie combined with a music video. Every few minutes the film is interrupted with random distorted footage and music that breaks away from the main story to keep you on your toes or add a bit of backstory to some of the family members. The film becomes an endurance for the viewer to make it through to the end; it gets more intense as the film goes on and any time you think something positive is going to happen, Zombie shuts it down As far as the violence and grisly images go, I don’t know where to start listing what happens. There are plenty of gun shot wounds and stabbings as well as graphic scenes involving various mutilated corpses like Fish Boy. Be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
The Firefly family is quite memorable and terrifying. I wouldn’t even go into the house let alone eat dinner with these people. Otis is a bit of an artist but his canvas is a dead body. Baby is gorgeous but psychopathic. Mama is that creepy stripper you avoid at the strip club. And Captain Spaulding…this movie needed more Spaulding. Sid Haig steals the show every scene he’s in but he’s only featured in the beginning and a little bit in the middle and end. Just do a Captain Spaulding movie next time, Rob!
The film isn’t perfect, but for a first time movie director, Rob Zombie did quite alright. It’s not the most enjoyable film to watch, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. If you’re looking for an off-putting, gory film, here you go! And make sure to watch the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, which is amazing.
Story: 6 – Kids get kidnapped by crazy family who does crazy things to them.
Blood: 8 – The film doesn’t pull punches very often so get ready to see some blood.
Nudity: 5 – Most of the boobs are either seen on dead bodies or in distorted black and white video. However, Sheri Moon-Zombie shows off some butt cleavage which is fine with me.
Overall: 7 – It may not have the punch it used to have, but House of 1000 Corpses is still worth a visit if you think you can handle it.
-If you watch one of the televisions close enough, you will notice Bill Moseley playing a news anchor.
-Rob Zombie filmed the violent scenes even gorier than he intended just in case he had to trim them back to appease the studio or the MPAA. When he trimmed the scenes down to what he wanted anyway, everyone was happy he edited the film to be less violent than it was. Sneaky!