House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 1, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Universal (Australia). Region 4, (16:9 enhanced). 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0. 89 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Chris Hardwick, Erin Daniels, Jennifer Jostyn, Rainn Wilson Tom Towles, Walt Goggins
Screenplay: Rob Zombie
Music: Scott Humphrey,
Rob Zombie
Tagline: The most shocking tale of carnage ever seen.
Country: USA
Are you a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left, Eaten Alive, and sleazy 70s grindhouse? Well I've got a delectable feast of delights for you! A tale where Life and Death are Meaningless…and Pain is God!!

October 30, 1977, Ruggsville, four twenty something's on a road trip across the USA (Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, Erin Daniels and Rainn Wilson) stop at Captain Spaulding's (Sid Haig) Museum of Monsters and Mayhem, a gas station/ fried chicken hut with a Ripley's Believe It or Not styled freak show, whose main attraction is the bizarre 'Murder Ride'. In the ride, the travelers are told about a local psycho, Dr Satan, who was hanged out in the woods by Ruggsville townsfolk, and whose body mysteriously disappeared the next day. The four decide to visit the tree on which he was hanged, and on the way pick up a hitchhiker, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon). Soon one of their tyres is shot out and the four have to stop in at Baby's House, where they are introduced to the murderous Firefly family (Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Robert Mukes, Matthew McGrory and Dennis Fimple). The succeeding story will shock, terrify and haunt the viewer…FOREVER!!!

Filmed in 2000, but not released until 2003, due to Universal's cowardice towards an NC-17 rating, but eventually picked up by Lion's Gate Films, Rob Zombie has created a visual trip that has more genre homage's than you can poke a stick at. House of 1000 Corpses received Best Special Effects for Wayne Toth and Michael O'Brien at Fantasporto in 2004 where it was also nominated for Best International Fantasy Film, not to mention it was nominated for Choice Movie- Horror/Thriller at the Teen Choice Awards 2003.

Zombie obviously has great affection for everything that we Horror fans and Gore fiends love. Being a collector of the macabre and trash culture himself, not to mention a Marx Brothers aficionado (to which some of the characters are named after: Otis Driftwood, Rufus Firefly and Ravelli). To a layman, this film might seem a rip-off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and there is no doubt that there are many comparisons, but there are levels to this film that make it so much more than that. To go into those levels would be to reveal far too much of the film itself, and lose some of its journey for the genre fan. Unfortunately this film has been heavily cut, when played at the Mar del Plata Film festival, it ran at 105 minutes but the eventual release plays at a mere 88 minutes. Don't worry though; there is still plenty of carnage to enjoy.

The filming of this movie is great, sometimes Hollywood gloss, sometimes gritty and grainy, which gives the viewer an impression this was actually made in the seventies, and also has some quick MTV style cuts for dream sequences and such.
Video
Always crisp and sharp, the 16x9 anamorphic widescreen is impressive, the only time this movie sinks to grit and grain is in its segues, where it is obviously deliberate.
Audio
A choice of DTS Digital Surround Sound 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital 2.0, this disc also contains a 'Music Only' track which is a great way to watch this movie. Musical artists include Buck Owens, The Ramones, and Zombie himself, amongst others. This is worth it for the brilliant cover of 'Brick House" by Zombie, Lionel Ritchie and Trina alone.
Extra Features
The special features are not as spectacular as what the menus would have you think. The menus, hosted by Baby, Otis and particularly Captain Spaulding are fantastic, powered by Mojo DVD navigation; the menus have these three characters commenting on everything from what the special features contain, to your very own sassy hairdos.

The Making of featurette is a 4:14 minute summary of the film as told by the actors playing the leads, and a couple of sound bytes from Zombie about the making of the movie, but not very special or informative.

Behind the Scenes is a bit of on location footage of the pit scene that runs for about 2:30 minutes.

The Directors commentary is as you would expect from someone like from Rob Zombie. He talks all way through, rarely taking a break and revealing some interesting aspects of this film, including how much of it was filmed in the basement of his own house. Sometimes commentaries from only one person have long breaks or pauses, but Zombie has a short story for every scene that plays. The amount of extra bits and pieces he points out are incredible, even down to continuity faults.

Tiny Fucked a Stump is rehearsal footage of Moon, Haig and Moseley for the DVD menus.

Casting is audition footage of Dennis Fimple (King Kong) who played Grandpa, which is pretty funny.

Theatrical Trailers are fairly self explanatory.

The Still gallery has behind the scenes photos of the cast and some make-up effects.

Rehearsals have footage of Moseley, Jostyn, Wilson, Hardwick, and Daniels going through the chops of three scenes.

The Interviews section has Q & A's with Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon and Wayne Toth (special make-up effects). Fairly standard fare, but interesting never the less.
The Verdict
I absolutely love this movie. It's never going to be known as a breakthrough of originality and top shelf acting, but isn't entertainment what cinema is all about, something that this film delivers by the bloody bucket load. Zombie knows his genre stuff and has collected a cast from movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Spider Baby, Trilogy of Terror and others, to deliver 'the Most Shocking Tale of Carnage ever Seen'. Have fun!!
Movie Score
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