89 min., 2003
Written by Rob Zombie
Directed by Rob Zombie
My rating: ★★★★★
Love it or hate it, Rob Zombie knows horror movies!
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The movie begins at Captain Spaulding’s Museum Of Monsters and Madmen (also with fried chicken and gasoline) with Spaulding (Sid Haig) talking to a customer until two men in masks break in and try to rob the place. Spaulding doesn’t flinch when they enter and point their guns at them, in fact he starts telling them to fuck their mothers. All of a sudden a man in a giant mask breaks in with an axe and takes down one of them and Spaulding shoots the other one. We next meet our four heroes/victims. Jerry (Chris Hardwick) and Denise (Erin Daniels) are one couple, while the other is Bill (Rainn Wilson) and Mary (Jennifer Jostyn). They are going cross-country to roadside attractions and writing a book about them and this a perfect place to stop. They take Spaulding’s Murder Ride and learn about Dr. Satan who was hung not that far away from here. They get directions and that’s when the insanity that is House Of 1000 Corpses truly begins.
This movie is full of great talent (older and newer) that all show they can act. With greats like Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley and Tom Towles coming back from obscurity to show that they haven’t lost a single amount of acting ability and that even though a lot of the acting styles have changed they can fit back in with no problem at all. Then we have the new actors show their chops. Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, Erin Daniels and Jennifer Jostyn hold their own up against the powerhouse of classic actors. They step up to the plate and perform their asses off to show that they can handle their own. Now comes Sheri Moon as Baby Firefly. This is truly a character/actress that you either really like or you fucking loathe. As for me, I though that she played the part perfectly, with that crazy laugh and her over the top stage performance scene. Yeah, sometimes she was just trying a little too hard, but at the same time that’s how the character always seems to come off. As the little sister that is trying to catch up to the rest of the family, so she is always pushing harder, which comes off as annoying at times.
The effects of the movie are used extremely well. Most of the time you see glimpses of what happens instead of the whole thing. Doing that works in the movie’s favor instead of working against it, making the scene a whole lot worse in your head depending on how far your brain takes everything. It really makes it as gory as you want to make it. The stuff that you do see is actually really good as well, with those scenes leaving nothing to the imagination. It’s a good balance between, in a sense, reality and your own mind going a step further.
The best way to describe this movie to people, at least this is how I describe it, is that it’s a cross between The Texas Chainsaw (or Chain Saw, depending on who you talk to) Massacre and Natural Born Killers. It has the overall raw power and ferocity of Chainsaw and the over the top crazy camera usage (fast zooms, use of negative images, grainy look, etc.) of NBK. Like Chainsaw you have the unsympathetic characters that are the victims, when most movies you are supposed to be rooting for them to live and like NBK the villains are the ones you end up cheering for.
Should you watch this? Yep, you should. This is one of those movies that only gets better the more you watch it. The acting is great, the effects are great and the story is a classic that has been told and will be told again with another family of crazies. Rob Zombie is someone that knows the genre and isn’t afraid to give fans what they want. Just pay attention to all the references to other horror movies that is sprinkled throughout. If you have already seen it and liked it, take another peek, it just keeps getting better. Now if you saw it and hated it, I suggest, again, to take another look and get past the hype that it’s the scariest or goriest movie ever. It’s neither. It’s just a plain and simple horror movie that is a fucking blast to watch.Have You Read...?