Thursday, November 29, 2007

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

As a major Rob Zombie fan, I must admit that I am slightly biased when it comes to his movies. So, it's time for my confession -- I LOVE House of 1000 Corpses. Although it has been slammed as one of the worst horror movies ever, it's one of my favorites in my collection.

I think the problem most people have with "House" is that they take it a bit too seriously. I look at it as the first venture from an extremely devoted horror fan like myself who just wanted to make a kick-ass horror movie. Sure, the plot kind of goes nowhere, and about an hour and ten minutes in, it veers off into obscurity, but the characters are awesome, the gore factor is there, the vibe is campy, and it even has a few laughs.

I think the story behind "House" adds to it's charm as well. The film was finished in 2000 (after some shooting at the house from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, as well extra scenes in Zombie's basement) but Universal rejected it due to fear of an NC-17 rating. Even after edits, they shopped it around for three years before Lions Gate (IMHO, one of the only places that will take actual horror nowadays) picked it up. This lead to the series of "the movie no one wanted you to see" trailers.

So, to the actual movie. "House" follows four college students (including Rainn Wilson, who currently stars as Dwight on the Office) as they travel across the country gathering material for a book about strange roadside attractions. They come across "Captain Spaulding's Musuem of Monsters and Madmen," and of course, have to make a stop. After exploring the museum, and learning of local legend Doctor Satan, they want to know more. So Captain Spaulding (played by a hysterical and creepy Sid Haig) draws them a crude map and sends them on their way.

The next course of events follows in true horror fashion -- they pick up a gorgeous (but subseqently insane) hitchhiker, get a flat tire, and end up in a situation reminiscent of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but with much kitcschier characters. The four students become involved in a fight for their lives (and sanity, I suppose) against a family of backwoods crazies with a basement full of dead cheerleaders.

So, if you're looking for the next horror classic, I wouldn't look to House of 1000 Corpses. But if you're looking for some good, campy, gory fun (and Sheri Moon Zombie in assless chaps) then House (and a few strong drinks) is a good bet.

Grade: B+ (Knife through Kevin Bacon's chest in Friday the 13th)