House of 1000 Corpses

Directed by Rob Zombie

> > Sep 2003

House of 1000 Corpses - Directed by Rob Zombie
By Chris GramlichThe problem with House of 1000 Corpses is that it's not particularly scary. However, it is pretty gruesome in parts, which scores points for its old school horror movie homage nature (think Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but not so much as to justify all the controversy. In fact, there's probably almost as much gore in a Tarantino film. Rob Zombie's directorial debut, which he also wrote, went through many bumps and bruises coming to the big and now little screen, including getting dropped by Universal, presumably due to its content, bouncing around in limbo and being hot-potatoed by other studios before being picked up by Lions Gate. Of course, that fascinating tale of its trials and tribulations is sadly absent from the DVD, either in its extras or in Rob's rather workman-like commentary, delivered without a single "yeah!," which alludes to the "problems" a number of times but never follows through. Zombie's House tells the tale of two teenage couples exploring America, who get wrapped up in a rural legend of Doctor Satan and unfortunately run across a family of hillbilly psychopaths. What Zombie does well is create characters, even if they are lifted, sure we don't like the kids and we're happy they die, but Zombie's cast of freaks, psychopaths and monsters (especially Captain Spaulding and Otis) is what saves the movie. Although Baby, played by Sheri Moon, is such a dead ringer for Zombie's former band-mate Sean Yseult that it's frightening. On top of Zombie's commentary, which contains some humorous comments about shooting on the Universal lot and the problems therein, the extras feature character-hosted menus, but although loaded for bear, none are in-depth, and Zombie is absent from much of it. Even worse, all the deleted and gorier footage Zombie continually references is not included at all. Still, in an era of postmodern horror awareness that has turned into parody, a throwback horror movie with no pretences to be anything other than what it is can be a refreshing change of pace. But he better have something new up his sleeve for the sequel. Extras: commentary; featurette; audition and rehearsal footage; interviews; more. (Lions Gate)
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