a critiQal film review House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Plot: In 1977, two young couples take a misguided tour onto the back roads of America in search of a local legend known as Dr. Satan. Lost and stranded, they are set upon by a bizarre family of psychotics. Murder, cannibalism and satanic rituals are just a few of the 1000+ horrors that await.

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  • ...it's sad when the animated menus on the DVD are the best the film has to offer.

I first heard about House of 1000 Corpses a little while ago, back when it was in theaters. Since it was directed by Rob Zombie, who’s always been a little off-kilter anyway, I figured it might be worth checking out. Since it’s his first stint as a feature-length film director, however, I figured I’d check it out when it hit DVD.

Would this new foray of Rob Zombie’s be worth the rental, or would it turn out to be another horror flick I could have done without?

Since Rob Zombie didn’t have a really big budget, there aren’t any really recognizable faces in House of 1000 Corpses. Most of the characters don’t even have names. But, they didn’t really need to.

The acting is all way below the norm, even for horror flicks. They do scream decently enough, but even the victims don’t even show real horror. They just seem to be in a state of shock the entire film.

While this may be more true to life, since any normal person would be in a state of shock after what they go through, it doesn’t make the movie very interesting. Heck, they don’t even scream that much! And what’s a horror movie without screaming? Kind of a silent picture, isn’t it? And kinda boring.

So, what about the plot of House of 1000 Corpses? Well, it seems that Rob Zombie wanted to make a picture reminiscent of the original or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You know, a horror flick on a shoestring budget.

Problem is, he doesn’t capture the real essence of horror that those two classics did. The plot is incredibly see-through, but the terror that the film inspires is supposed to get you to overlook that, just like those originals did. Except, Rob Zombie doesn’t inspire terror in this film. Maybe a little revulsion, but that’s about it. Face it Rob – those guys had vision. You just have mental problems.

The special effects in House of 1000 Corpses were annoying. Sure, the blood and guts looked real enough, and the creatures were freaky enough, but what was with the rest of that crap? “Infra-red O Vision” got real annoying, real quick. Turn the camera around – that’ll make it scarier (yeah, right). It turned out looking like a really long Rob Zombie video. Sure, you can handle that in small doses…but after 15 minutes or so, it gets irritating.

So, Rob, there you are. You’re first directorial stint has hit DVD…and it sucks. Yet, there are plans for a second film already (The Devil’s Rejects)! That’s doesn’t look to be something in my to-see list …ever.

The only positive thing I can say about the movie – the animated menus on the DVD. I had much more fun laughing at the clown mouthing off then anything that happened after I pressed play. I wanted to own it just for that. Now, though, it’s never going to be a part of my collection.

Nice try, Rob…but this House should be condemned.

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