House of 1000 Corpses Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 8, 2013
As an auteur Rob Zombie has established himself as a macabre force to be reckoned with; a wild card in the horror genre whose ambiguous morals challenge the codes and conventions of modern Hollywood cinema. His debut feature "House of 1000 Corpses" encapsulates perfectly his positioning as a maverick and opens up a door into a depraved and brutal world.

Set in the 70s and based on the exploitation films of the same time, the story follows four travelling writers Bill Hudley (Rainn Wilson), Stucky (Michael J. Pollard), Denise and Mary (Erin Daniels and Jennifer Jostyn) who are rescued by a family of sadistic serial killers whilst stuck in the rain; initially unknowing of their saviours evil intents, the group soon become subjected to a series of increasingly horrific torture.

Although the premise is the same as numerous other films' 'The House of 1000 corpses' sets itself apart with it's uncontrollable style and blunt force. Despite being told through the eyes of it's heroes, the real stars of the story are its villains 'The Firefly family', with Otis B. Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) in particular being the main points of attraction. It is apparent throughout the extent of the film that Zombie is in love with his deranged creations, giving them ample opportunities to spout their morally astray ideologies in nightmarish and often heavily sexualised montages made up of gothic imagery and visions of death ("Whatever you need to do, you do it. There is no wrong. If someone needs to be killed, you kill 'em. That's the way").

Such use of narrative fragmentation would appear un-immersive if not for the film's sporadic, maniacal and unpredictable editing, which often uses effects such as split screen and archive style footage to unrelentingly draw audience's into its dark world. Where the film falters however is with its ambition, causing the unpredictable to become predictable, an example of this is the way in which Zombie frequently fills viewers with hope for their protagonists only to take it away, and, although effective the first two or so times, this gimmick quickly becomes overused and is outwardly tiresome by the end of the film. As well as this HO1C fails where many other modern horrors do, in its climax, which is overlong and descends into an unbridled sense of absurdity and un-believability.

Verdict: A master class in technical and tonal horror, House of 1000 Corpses is let down by the pitfalls of most modern horror.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2012
For me at least, I find it hard for me to go into any form of detail about this film without first talking about the director. I am something of a mediocre fan of Rob Zombie. I mean, I like his music well enough and as an artist, I have respect for him. With my first two Zombie films I saw were his Halloween films, I got it that he loves paying tribute to the horror films that inspired him like he did with the lyrics to his music. What makes this film different from the Halloween films is how he handles the material he was given. Now, this is by no means a great film. In fact, as a film itself it is mediocre. Yeah, it has a great cult following, but as someone that knows what Zombie was going for, and what this film tried to do, I will not say it is great. But it is BEYOND fun to watch. With Zombie, if you have seen his music videos, the direction is not any way, shape, or form better than what you have already seen. But what makes this film great is how he has the film laid out. Taking ideas from directors, he never tries to improve the horror genre. In fact, he seems to want to create a hour and a half love letter to the obscure, low, disgusting horror films that you only hear about via horror geeks. The purpose is simple: wipe out the way horror films have been created as (soft core porn) and return them to the grotesque, evil, and just plain sadistic way horror (mainly slasher films) was meant to be. But what makes me love this film to watch is how funny the dialogue is. From the get go, it is shown that if you are looking for sophisticated characters, those that you can attach yourself to and see different angles to, then you have the wrong film. This movie gives each character one personality and it is either annoying or fun. As to which one is which, well, just look at who lives and dies. With this, the acting is not all that great, and should not have been great. In this type of film, great acting would kind of kill the overall feel that it was trying to achieve. This is Zombieā(TM)s directorial debut, and as such, he does have one main problem: LOTS of dropped ideas. Part of the plot of this film is to have a character known as Dr. Satan and his exploits. You only see him once in the entire film and his appearance is something of a buzz kill. Then you have the murderous family parts, the cops parts, and all of this that is later replaced with attention being focused on the gore shots. Okay Zombie, as a film critic, here is some advice: only keep the subplots that will work and develop them. I know I said that this was just a fun film and one to not take seriously, but with huge plot holes that donā(TM)t go anywhere, plot devices that really serve no purpose, it kills the film for me. But the best thing, and the part that redeems this film, is just the dialogue. I know I kind of already touched on this topic, but I just canā(TM)t love the words in this film enough. Mainly with the Firefly family, the dialogue just goes and destroys every stereotype imaginable for a backwashed family in the middle of no where. Now, why I love this is due to how natural it flows from the actors. Mainly with Bill Moseley (known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Devilā(TM)s Carnival) and how he allows his character to take over. It is truly hysterical. In the end, this is how a typical debut for a director should be: try everything you want, just be prepared to have the film hated. However, given the giant cult fan base this film has, that is not really the case. But for me, I am kind of in the middle with this film. The cinema snob in me wants to bash this film, calling it trash. The film geek in me wants to love this film for how funny it is, how much it pays tribute to films I love, and just the chance to see the great Rob Zombie make a movie. With this film, I am going with my film geek side. Now, am I saying go out and watch this film? Only if you can handle a LOT of gore and weird images. If you can handle it, make sure you have some fried chicken ready and sit back for one interesting and loving film.
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2011
Rob Zombie's horror movie debut was a complete disaster. It's obvious that Zombie was a big fan of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I'm not sure if he was paying homage to it, or if "House of 1000 Corpses" was an amateur's attempt at ripping it off. It doesn't really matter, because it fails miserably either way. You'd think with as much gore and deviant behavior that's shoved down the viewer's throat, scenes would be occasionally, or at least accidentally disturbing. The film never accomplished anything that even made me mildly uncomfortable. The direction has no attention span, the movie just bounces around incoherently. People with taste in music should avoid Rob Zombie, and fans of horror should avoid "House of 1000 Corpses".
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2010
Rob Zombie has been a horror fan for years. So when he decided to make a film it was no surprise that he would make a horror film. House of a 1000 Corpses is his first nightmarish vision captured on film. Corpses, though a flawed film, does it's job at creating something new and exciting. We are introduced the most deranged family in horror history since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. One thing thats very interesting about the characters is that every characters are named after Groucho Marx characters. House Of A 1000 is a thrilling, rejuvenating film in the horror genre and some fans and critics alike have noticed similarities between this film, and TCM. Some claim that Rob Zombie plays out his as a homage to the old school horror films. In part, I'd say it's true. But in the end, who cares? He's made a good little horror film thats worth to check out, and it doesn't matter if it's a homage or not. The film still terrifies across the screen, and by the films end you know that the Firefly family are not to be messed with.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2010
I'm not a huge horror movie fan, but it was hard to resist something directed by the infamous Rob Zombie. It's gory and twisted and everything you'd expect from this director.
Super Reviewer
½ July 1, 2007
Rob Zombie obviously is an enthusiastic fan and true connoisseur of classic Horror/Exploitation cinema, which also manifests in his films. While today's American Horror cinema is dominated by tame and crappy remakes, Zombie brought us two great, gory and rancid Shock features that are among the most notable Horror productions of the decade, starting with "House of 1000 Corpses" in 2003. This is a traditional Hillbilly Horror film in great, gritty 70s style, upgraded with loads of innovating new aspects, a magnificent sense of black humor, wonderfully demented characters, brutal gory violence, genuine creepiness, delightful sickness and unrestrained shocks.

A bunch of young people are traveling through Texas in order to write a book on offbeat roadside attractions. After meeting Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) the owner of a gas station with an attached Horror/Murder museum, their car breaks down and they are forced to seek refuge in the house of a truly demented family of hicks...

Though most obviously inspired by the Hillbilly Horror classic "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974), "House of 1000 Corpses" pays tribute to various Horror classics and is thereby extremely innovative. The film is an utterly demented mix of Hillbilly Mass Murder Horror, Mad Science and various other elements, which is as darkly funny as it is extremely creepy and sometimes genuinely scary. Personally, I was a big fan of Sid Haig even before I first saw this film a few years ago, for his appearance in countless 70s Exploitation classics, such as "Coffy", "Spider Baby" and others. One might well say that "House of 1000 Corpses" and the even greater 2005 sequel "The Devil's Rejects" mark the highlights of Haig's career, as he plays a leading role, and his Captain Spaulding is arguably the most notable Horror character of the decade. Some other highly memorable roles are that of Bill Moseley as the utterly demented Otis, and director Rob Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie as the incredibly sexy yet incredibly wicked daughter of the murderous Firefly family.

"House of 1000 Corpses" is gory, brutal and demented unlike most contemporary Horror films and has a fantastic sense of pitch black humor. Apart from an innovative and wonderfully demented story, uniquely eccentric characters, countless Horror references, gore and morbidity, this film features some of the greatest Horror moments of the last 20 years. Overall, this film, as well as the even superior "Devil's Rejects" is most highly recommended to any fan of Horror and Exploitation cinema.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2009
If only more movies could be this warped and funny. Rob Zombie knows what a horror movie should have. It's the definition of horror comedy and is directed so perfectly that it makes it a modern masterpiece. The dialogue is so good at being just off balanced, tricking you into a warm and friendly environment. Then when the torture starts happening, you don't know what to think. Horror movies are rarely this fun, you'd be a fool to pass it up.
Super Reviewer
September 17, 2009
Tribute to 70's horror films or just a rip off? Just a rip off really. Sid Haig is good though!
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2007
Its sad that a film as wonderfully made as this is so grossly misunderstood.

Let me say this right off that bat. If you're idea of a horror film is I know What You Did Last Summer and you consider Scream and The Exorcist to be the most shocking films ever made, this is not a film for you. If you havent seen I Spit on Your Grave, Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead or Last House on the Left, this is not a film for you. If you've never listened to "Living Dead Girl" or "Superbeast" this is not a film for you.

Now having said that, this is a film for me. It is a film for true horror fans, the kind that stay up and watch Dawn of the Dead and The Beyond, who know who Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento and George Romero are. This is a film that was meant to be seen by people like this and will only be enjoyed by people like this. This is not exactly mainstream stuff here. Only a small percentage of people enjoy this stuff, and for those people, this film is a true rivival of classic exploitive horror.

Rob Zombie has created a homage to 1970's exploitation/horror films, and he has been extremly successful in achieving that goal. The film borrows largely from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left, with his own little bits of original demential thrown in and an assortment of other horror film references. The film tells the tale of four teenagers who are terrorized and tortured by a bizarre southern family living in a remote farmhouse in 1977. The film uses all sorts of camera tricks--negative colouring, split-screens and seemingly random inserts of grainy snuff-like footage of various S&M and gore images; the off-the-wall effect is similar to what Oliver Stone did in Natural Born Killers. The film is not about plot, or about characters. Its purpose is to shock and disturb, to serve no other function than to entertain through exploitation and disgusting and bizarre violence. Just as you think the limits of weirdness are approaching, Zombie takes the film a step farther, and before long you surrender yourself to the mercy of the film and just accept things for what they are. The film has the feeling of an out of control freight train being piloted by a madman and the climax of the film is truly bizarre. The reviewers who wrote the film off as overly-sadistic with little in the ways of character development, plot or suspence have come to see a different kind of film, perhaps more at home with titles like The Sixth Sense or Silence of the Lambs. The have no busineness debasing a great film like this.

Rob Zombie has created a film that is both a homage and derivative at the same time; most things in the film have been done before, in one shape or another, and the level of gore is a fraction of what was intended, due to its shameful R-rating. To see the inevitable Unrated Directors Cut on video is going to be a true horror experience.

But this film is something has hasnt been seen in decades and it has been made with the utmost care that only a true horror fan could provide. It is a film made by horror fans for horror fans, a true labor of love by Mr. Zombie, despite some flaws. If you arent sitting the theater going "hey, theres Bill Mosely from TCM 2!" or "hey, that shot is a homage to the cover of Evil Dead!" or "hey, he wears peoples skin like Leatherface!" then you probably arent meant to be seeing this film. But for those who are, the film is a true gem and a rarity; it is a kind of film that hasnt been seen on the screens in over twenty years and probably wont be for another twenty years. Get out there and enjoy this rare experience while you still can.

An instant cult-hit.

Grade: A

For true horror fans only. Everyone else just wont get it.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2007
A true Grindhouse-style movie that steals from every great underground horror film and spins a yarn of fun.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2007
Four college aged kids stumble into the web of family of bizarre, yet cliched, backwoods killers. First time director Rob Zombie tries to cover up the lack of a story with an excess of style; the result looks a lot like what you would get if you took THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974), removed all the scary, and replaced it with annoying.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2007
"Better you leave here with your head still full of kitty cats and puppy dogs"
Super Reviewer
February 29, 2008
Rob zombie the king of horror.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2008
a misunderstood and underrated movie
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2006
Captain Spaulding: Howdy Folks! You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well then, come on down to Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Mad-Men. See the Alligator Boy, ride my famous Murder Ride. Most of all, don't forget to take home some of my tasty fried chicken! Ha ha! It just tastes so damn good!

It's easy to see where Rob Zombie was coming from on this movie. He loves old grindhouse horror flicks, which this movie draws from, particularly The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This movie is all about how crazy, sick, absurd, and disgusting it can get.

The whole thing really plays like a creepy amusement park ride. It is a whirlwind of colors, strange and random scenes, wacky characters, and off the wall set design.

It follows some innocents heading into the back country for whatever reason, and they come into trouble in the form of one terribly fucked up family.

While the sequel to this, The Devil's Rejects is done in a more gritty and realistic manner, this film is all about sticking to its crazy stylized look, and while 'Rejects' is a much better film, this is still a sick but entertaining horror house movie.

Mary screams]
Otis: Shut your mouth!
[more screams]
Otis: I said, shut your fucking mouth!
Otis: Listen, you Malibu middle class Barbie piece of shit, I'm tryin' to work here. Work? You ever work? Yeah, I'll bet you have. Scoopin' ice cream to your shit-heel friends on summer break. Well I ain't talkin' about no goddamn white socks with Mickey Mouse on one side and Donald Duck on the other. I ain't readin' no funny books, mama. Our bodies come and go but this blood... is forever.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2007
I was only half watching this, but I remember really liking it. It's always nice to see a reverant homage movie made by someone who is very obviously a fan of the genre. I like the way he nailed both the brutality and quirkiness of the characters, and made the victims' breaches of etiquette spell thier doom. They have a code of honour that is reminiscent of that of the good Dr. Lecter, in a more crude form. This movie is not long on story, but is such a fun grindhouse experience, that fact is easy to forget.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2007
Crazy movie!
Super Reviewer
½ July 9, 2007
A trippy and surreal homage to 70's exploitation and horror films that deserves to be watched at least once.
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