House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

I like to get fucked up and do fucked up shit!

house of 1000 corpses posterFirst of all, the title alone is amazing. Second of all, this film is directed by Rod Zombie. So you know it’s going to be fucked up, dark, and gothic. And this, my friends, is about as dark and creative as it gets. This movie pretty much has everything that is scary- clowns, monsters, demons, perversion, rage, murder, bizarre medical experiments, atmosphere, weirdness, haunting music, satanic rituals, human sacrifices, rotting skeletons, serial killers, and deranged doctors. You name it, it probably has it. As much as I love this movie, it is kind of hard to review. Sometimes it feels like the film has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), jumping from one plot line to the next. Regardless of its unsystematic approach, this is a shit-show of scary goodness.

clown house of 1000 corpses gifThis being Rob Zombie’s debut film, he himself has even said that this is his least favorite film he has made. But in my opinion, it is my favorite. It was so different from anything else that was coming out at the time, or anything from the past, for that matter. He has since gone on to make The Devil’s Rejects (a semi-sequel to House of 1000 Corpses), Halloween (remake of 1978 classic), Halloween II, and his latest, The Lords of Salem.  House of 1000 Corpses opens in 1950s’esque late-night theatre style. We are introduced to Captain Spaulding, a nasty clown of sorts, and his Museum of Monsters and Madmen, which harbors the infamous murder ride. Two couples stumble upon this goldmine for a book they are writing about off-beat roadside attractions. This may seem straight forward enough, but between each scene are slices and clips of horror and depravity; almost as if the audience is receiving not so subliminal messages.

fish boy house of 1000 corpses
Captain Spaulding takes the four friends (one of whom looks exactly like Dwight from The Office) on the murder ride- full of creepy mechanical figures representing famous serial killers, including a Dr. Satan. Whether his legend is true or not has yet to be told. When the friends get back on the road they pick up a hitchhiker who lives just a couple miles down the rode- a bodacious blonde babe called Baby and played by Rob Zombie’s real wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. It’s Halloween eve, it’s storming, they run out of gas, and go to Baby’s house to get help. Seen it, seen it, heard it, seen it.  But trust me, nothing about this film is cliché or typical. Not always told in a linear sequence, the film doesn’t always make sense and half the time we don’t really know what is going on, but it definitely instills fear and discomfort.

sherri moon zombie gifDon’t expect much character development either; well, except for our villains and villainesses, who are all so amazing creepy in their own way. Among Baby, there is Madame Butterfly, Grampa, Tiny- a masked hunchback, and Otis- a hillbilly Charles Manson. Like a modern day Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, Rob Zombie was heavily influenced by horror movies of this era. The four friends try to leave this nasty place and that is when all hell breaks loose; where everything bad that can happen, will. Apparently, Universal Studios dropped the film because they thought it would get an NC-17 rating for the amount of gore involved. Rob Zombie was constantly filming different versions of the same scene to accommodate an R-rating.

One can imagine that heavy drugs were used while writing this wacky script- with all the sick humor, nasty jokes, and grotesque degeneracy. Everything about this film screams weird. The music alone can make your skin crawl and even the opening credits are terrifying. You know a movie like this will not have a happy ending. This film literally has 1000 horrors. And by the way, Dr. Satan is real and you’ve found him. This is Hell! This is Hell!

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House of 1000 Corpses (2003) on IMDb

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