Written and Directed by Rob Zombie

Running Time: 1:28

Rated R
for strong sadistic violence/gore, sexuality and language.


Chad Bannon
as Karl

Sid Haig
as Captain Spaulding

Karen Black
as Mother Firefly

Bill Moseley
as Otis

Sheri Moon
as Baby

Chris Hardwick
as Jerry Goldsmith

Tom Towles
as George Wydell

Erin Daniels
as Denise Willis

Jennifer Jostyn
as Mary Knowles

Matthew McGrory
as Tiny

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House of 1000 Corpses was easily one of the more disturbing movies I've ever seen. Short and sadistic, it's pretty much what I expected it to be.


4 friends are on a road trip across middle America, documenting small roadside attraction for a book they want to write. They are unfortunate enough to run across Captain Spaulding's House of Monsters and Murder (or something close to that). While there they hear the legend of Doctor Satan, a local man who was supposedly hung for his vile crimes years ago, but the body was missing the morning after his hanging. One of the friends gets the bright idea of looking at the tree where Dr. Satan was hung and from there, all hell breaks loose. Literally. The friends are captured and tortured by a family of sadistic, evil people who help Captain Spaulding put together the creatures for his show.


I am a big fan of horror films, and I love Rob Zombie's music so I thought I'd give House of 1000 Corpses a shot. I figured it would be depraved and just a complete gore-fest, which it was. It was also very disturbing because there was not one shred of humanity in the film. Pardon my language, but Rob Zombie is a twisted motherfucker. The one thing you come to expect in horror films is there will be one character who manages to triumph against the evil. Usually a girl and usually after several near death experiences. Sometimes a cop will be along for the ride to help save her. Zombie takes all that, sets you up and then turns you on your ear. Cops show up all right, but nothing good comes from it. The first one gets shot in the side of the head, the ex-cop along for the ride searching for his daughter gets skinned and worn as a suit and, in the most chilling sequence in the film, the last cop is put down on his knees with a gun to his head as the camera pulls back for what seems to be an eternity before getting shot. The one extended gave me chills as I kept waiting for something to happen and just when you think the shot will cut away, it stays and stays and stays before the trigger is finally pulled. And what about the girl that always lives? Here she makes it out alive, only to be rescued by the guy who started the whole thing and taken right back to the hell she escaped from.

Visually the movie was disturbing. Much like in his music videos, Zombie has created a stylistically impressive world that's both exciting and unsettling. He also has this habit of cutting between the regular world and a rough, home video world that sort of helps tell the story and is generally used to show the depravity of the people involved. The worlds he creates seem to come from a very dark place inside of his heart. It makes me wonder what he went through as a child to come up with some of this stuff. I found myself looking around me at times to make sure none of these strange creatures was about to sneak up behind me and slice the top of my head off. Again however, this is pretty much what I expected when I went to see the film. And being a Rob Zombie music fan, the soundtrack was great.

My theater had maybe 7 or 8 other people in it, including, to my surprise, two women who sat alone. House of 1000 Corpses never struck me as being a chick flick but apparently they really wanted to see it, coming out before noon on opening day. After the movie one guy wanted his money back while everyone else looked slightly green. I sat and listened to Zombie's version of 'Brick House' play over the closing credits, wondering if I liked the film. As you can see, I gave the film a 'C' grade. From an overall movie standpoint, the movie probably would have gotten an 'D'. Bad acting, jumpy directing and editing, no story, no real motivation for anything but a killer soundtrack. That being said, from a horror film point of view, I think the movie probably deserved a 'B'. It had blood, it had guts, it had psychos, it had hot women, it had nudity and there were a couple of times where I jumped out of my seat. What more could you ask for from a horror film? So I averaged out the grades and gave it a 'C'.


So overall, House of 1000 Corpses was a disturbing freak show that is only for real horror fans. And even some of them won't like it. But if you're looking for a movie that will make you feel a little sick, make you a little jumpy, and generally creep you out, this is the one to see.

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reviewed 04/11/03

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